Review of Epilepsy is Dancing Single by Antony and the Johnsons
Review of Antony and the Johnsons' single 'Epilepsy is Dancing'
Winning something as prestigious and let's be honest commercially rewarding as a Mercury Prize - especially on a rumoured "technicality" - would for some lesser talents have signalled both a portentous coup and life-changing career opportunity. For Anthony Hegarty however the success of 2005's I Am A Bird Now has subsequently resembled a millstone rather than a medal; barring a few semi-anonymous turns on other people's records, it was not until his 2008 re-emergence as the clamorous house chanteuse of the Hercules and Love Affair collective that we got to revel again in that voice.
Now centred in a more recognisably austere context - a muted chamber ensemble, lilting clarinet, and unintrusive piano - Epilepsy is Dancing is still all about Hegarty's almost unique pipes as they undulate over typically bohemian words. Typically, amongst the fragments you sense are tints both autobiographical and esoteric; in the opening line the subject is described as "The christ now departing" and later with more than a hint of restrained passion he cries "I cry glitter, is love".
Taken from the rumoured less introspective, but even more artily uncompromising second album The Crying Light, it's a simple, unassuming ballad which will confound the unsuspecting masses who found I Am A Bird Now an unpalatable exercise. There will be no Mercury this time, but you suspect that such issues these days are simply another man's/woman's problem.
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