Antony and the Johnsons -‘Cut The World’ (Rough Trade)
If you were going to talk in fairly blunt terms, you would simply say that this is Antony Hegarty’s first live album, and draws on his four studio albums so far.
Which, technically speaking, is true, but, there’s so much more to it than that. The album’s title track and opener is a new song -and it’s a pleasure to have your heart broken in this way -once more- by Antony and the Johnsons. Recorded in Copenhagen last September with backing from the 42-piece Danish National Chamber Orchestra, these are reworkings of some of the thought-provoking and wonderful music he has recorded over the last fifteen years.
‘You and Your Sister’ may not feature Boy George on this version, but it still manages to compete admirably with the original. The thought of a seven minute spoken word piece on feminism might put some people off, but Antony has a speaking voice that is easy to listen to, so that you do get drawn to what he is saying. And the versions of ‘Cripple and the Starfish’ and ‘Swanlights’ -hell, the whole album!- make it worth the price of admission.
If only all live albums were as beautiful and worthwhile as this.
Cut The World is out now on Rough Trade
NB The video for ‘Cut The World’ is very good, but quite violent in parts. NSFW. You have been warned.