Random "bests" of '08: Part 1

Best EP: Antony

Antony and the Johnsons
Another World
Secretly Canadian CD EP
EPs are multifaceted characters in the digital distribution era. No longer bound by the relatively prescribed lengths of formats such as CD or, in another era, 45s, artists are using the EP as a way to provide ‘all killer, no filler’ in their releases. More content-rich than a single and more unified in conception than their full length counterparts, artists such as Joseph Arthur and Fleet Foxes have used EPs to get their music out into world with great speed and, of late, concomitant buzz. In the current global recession, their pint-size price at Amazon and other vendors is certainly welcome by consumers willing to be satiated by a taster course.

Another World, a late ’08 release from Antony and the Johnsons, could be seen as a teaser for their forthcoming Secretly Canadian full length Crying Light (out 1/20). But it’s also an intriguing release all by itself, pushing at the boundaries of Antony’s soulful vocals and searching polystylism. “Another World” and “Sing for Me” are emotively sung piano ballads that are kindred spirits to songs from Antony’s 2005 release I am a Bird Now; The harmonically questing “Crackagen” seems ripe for reinterpretation by Brad Mehldau, Christopher O’Riley or the Bad Plus.

“Shake That Devil” is more experimental. In an extended verse, Antony sings incantatory melismas over a droning accompaniment, only to eventually join forces with a raucous saxophone and hot rhythm section for a bluesy rabblerousing chorus. The closer, “Hope Mountain,” finds adopts a winningly lyrical tune that is embellished by piano interludes and honeycombs of overdubbed vocals. If the songs here are indicative of the forthcoming long-player’s reach, it should be most impressive!

 Antony and the Johnsons - Best EP of '08



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