[ALBUM: Review] Antony And The Johnsons – Cut The World
Some people remember where they were when they first heard of the passing of a true icon, or a shocking world event. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard Antony And The Johnsons’ single ‘Hope There’s Someone’, from the 2005 album I Am a Bird Now. Antony Hegarty’s angelically gothic voice has haunted the chambers of my eardrums ever since.
Seven years on, Cut The World – a collection of live symphonic songs recorded with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra – plays like the soundtrack to a melancholy fairytale drenched with a darkness beyond redemption. The live album features new versions of songs spanning Hegarty’s entire catalogue – save for the title track, a fresh creation. ‘You Are My Sister’ retains all its heart-wrenching beauty while donning a new coat of fragility, whilst ‘Another World’ quite literally takes you to one. The new arrangement of ‘Cripple And The Starfish’ manages to protect the song’s integrity while gifting it with new life.
At times this album flirts dangerously with the theatric, with the stunning simplicity of ‘I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy’ flailing in an orchestral sea; others, like ‘Epilepsy Is Dancing’, fall victim to a wordiness reserved for drama school. Still, Cut The World manages to find the hairs on the back of your neck and steadily raise them.
Although I’m wary of live albums (more often than not a shameless cash grab by artists in their downtime, or their labels), Cut The World sounds more like a new idea than a rehash of old ones. You may not remember where you were the first time you heard it, but you’ll be really glad you did.