Oh, Antony. I find it so hard to believe that you could ever hit me the wrong way with your music, and yet, a mere two songs into your Another World EP, I feared that you had done exactly that. True, you always did have a signature sound, but that you would choose to heed so closely to the formula that brought you so much acclaim and recognition on I Am a Bird Now seemed uncharacteristically safe from an artist who should never be described as such. And then, as if to assuage any doubt I might have initially had, you put “Shake That Devil” right in the middle of the EP, not just breathing life into it, but recontextualizing it as an entity not totally separate from your work of a small amount of years ago, but with its own identity nonetheless. The choice to make “Shake That Devil” a two-part work, traversing a surprisingly short road from incantation over static and strings to all-out blues-rock stomp (minus the guitars that the latter implies) is enough to allow for an exorcism of the intent, if not entirely the style, of I Am a Bird Now.
Rather than a statement of lament, you have allowed Another World to be a statement of liberation. The title track is your move toward that liberation, as you tell us that you “need another world” even as you acknowledge that you’re “gonna miss the birds singing all their songs”. Closer “Hope Mountain”, even beyond its title, offers that “It’s time to take a wild flight and let things start again / It’s time to produce what’s right and start to make amends”. Where I Am a Bird Now‘s cover featured Candy Darling on her deathbed, Another World‘s photograph of Kazuo Ohno features its now-101-year-old and still very much alive subject embracing the identity that his mask allows.
While we can never expect you to change your approach to music, Antony, we can still appreciate that your words are now infused with the strength of assuredness and hope. May it be a short wait to The Crying Light.