By Leah Greenblatt
Updated January 14, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST
Alice O'Malley

In 2005, Antony and the Johnsons beat the likes of Coldplay and M.I.A. to win England?s esteemed Mercury Prize with I Am a Bird Now — an improbable amalgam of orchestral, almost funereally paced chamber pop and far-out themes (mortality, sibling rivalry, transgenderism). It’s a testament to the otherworldly talents of singer Antony Hegarty, who sounds like Nina Simone with a small tree frog in her throat, that Bird‘s follow-up, The Crying Light — a haunting collection of ballads that play like transmissions from a mournful, elegant alien — nearly equals its predecessor. A?

Download This: Listen to the song ”Another World” on the band’s MySpace