Hozier’s Self-Titled Debut Album “Hozier” Reviewed
What more needs to be said about 24 year old Andrew Hozier-Byrne than has already been uttered? Who here needs me to contextualise this musician’s meteoric rise to heady heights, almost mythic his slim stature, on the cusp of international acclaim and fame? Resounding silence. Thought so. What, then, does need to be said? Most anticipated Irish album of the year? Definitely. Worth the wait? Most definitely.
The songs on Hozier, the debut full length album from the aforementioned Wicklow man, sizzle with intensity, struck with the fire of delta blues, seared with passion, self assured, strong in parts, sweet, soft, gentle and delicate in others, always central, that voice huge and haunting, borne from a fragile place but delivered with complete control. All the hype, the long wait for this record, seems now warranted.
‘Take me to Church’ takes pride of place as the album’s opener and it certainly shines with a passionate ferocity, underlining the reason why Hozier’s name has been spoken with hushed reverence and awe ever since that video went viral last year. Big brash drums underpin ‘Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene’, with gospel style backing vocals adding depth, featuring production that would please the Black Keys. Pounding percussion is central to the track whilst clean, crisp guitars cut in the verse and a muffled, dirty solo breathes bold with intensity. Somewhere Dan Auberach is listening jealously.
Songs we’ve heard before sound special in the context of the whole album, such as, ‘From Eden’ and ‘Work Song’, but tunes like ‘Jackie and Wilson’, a swaggering, crunchy, rock and roll soul walk add an optimistic air to the piece as a whole, while ‘Someone New’ brings an upbeat pop punch, perfectly executed, textured with some sweet string arrangements.
The album does feel stretched at the tail end of the track listing however, with many of the raucous and rowdy numbers featured at the beginning of the piece. Perhaps a shorter length may have contributed to a more rounded record but that being said, this really is a remarkable release from Mr. Hozier-Byrne.
“Hozier” is released in Ireland today, September 19th.
Review by Andy Guyett