Bad news for those Antony Hegarty converts indoctrinated by his hauntingly sexy guest vocals on last year’s hipster dance party Hercules and Love Affair. The androgynous angelic quality still abounds in his Johnsons work, but the group’s third album (much like its first two) is better suited for a funeral procession than a disco.
Opener “Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground” tosses in the first handful of dirt while a string quartet broods in the background. Apparent seizure-in-the-snow anthem “Epilepsy Is Dancing” somehow makes even the line “glitter is love” sound morose. The title track’s slow piano oozes anhedonia and the popping percussion undercuts the grandeur in declaring “I was born … to carve your face into the back of the sun.” Ditto the molasses-paced guitar arpeggios in “Aeon,” over which Hegarty pleads “Hold that man in your tender clutch, hold that man I love so much,” after it’s obvious he’s already slipped away.