- 27 Feb 19
Triumphant return from Bray maestro.
It’s been half-a-decade since Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ conquered charts and hearts, making Wasteland, Baby! one of the most enthusiastically awaited albums for some time. A year in the making, the LP has a generous 14 tracks, all of which showcase an artist at his creative peak.
‘Shrike’ and the somewhat apocalyptic title track will be familiar from last year’s Nina Cried Power EP, while the cracking singles ‘Movement’ and ‘Almost’ raised anticipation to fever pitch. Notably, the latter – a soul classic in the making – shows a more carefree Hozier, and there’s plenty more in that vein from the man with the golden voice. The sturdy ‘The Plan’ is a powerful number about grit and resilience, and the Paul Simon-like ‘Nobody’ is a celebration of life and love.
Elsewhere, ‘As It Was’ beautifully utilises Arabic rhythms, while the expertly crafted ‘Would That I’ is vintage Hozier. There’s a beguiling slinkiness to ‘Talk Refined’ courtesy of the silky vocals, and ‘Dinners & Diatribes’ kicks off like a 21st century ‘Last Train To Clarksville’, before morphing into an irresistible floor-filler. Heading towards the final strait, ‘To Noise Making (Sing)’ is sheer gospel joy, while the spellbinding title tune ends proceedings on a high.
With this sophomore effort, Hozier has not so much reinvented himself as confirmed his place in the pop premier league. His voice and band sound as big as ever, but the intensity has been leavened with some lighter touches, born of a mature confidence. In addition, the Bray man has the uncanny ability to marry his influences – including Bowie, Lennon, James Brown and John Coltrane – to a very personal sensibility. With Wasteland, Baby!, it looks like Hozier has another major hit on his hands.
OUT MARCH 1