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Review: Wasteland, Baby! - Hozier

Kirsten Murray discusses the long awaited Wasteland, Baby!

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Image Credit: Hozier Vevo

After five long years and being drip fed with EPs and singles throughout thelatter half of last year, Hozier has finally released his second album, Wasteland, Baby! But has itbeen worth the wait? Has the Irish heartthrob progressed as an artist? Most importantly, will he ever be able to form an identity aside from “the guy who sang ‘Take Me To Church’”?

Trying to describe the album genre is challenging, as I know of no other artists creating music like his. The 14-track album gives us all aspects of Hozier’s musical personality, with his signature guitar blues interlacing with elements of upbeat pop, melodious ballads, jazz, gospel and acoustic.

On first listen, you really don’t know what to expect from each trackand, even after multiple listens, different tracks stand out and offer inspiration.

Hozier has continued to create songs of lyrical genius... It may not immediately hit you as an excellent record, I urge you to give it time

Lyrics have always been at the forefront of Hozier’s work, and in this record, Hozier has continued to create songs of lyrical genius. ‘Shrike’ uses the predatorial actions of the bird ofthe same name as a metaphor for love and produces a beautifully quiet, simplistic tune of the pain of heartbreak.

‘Movement’ is another of my favourites, beginning slowly and building to the crescendo of the chorus, moving from a soft, delicate voice to a powerful, strong one. Hozier makesexcellent use of his powerful voice throughout the chorus, keeping it hidden to build the tension, then releasing it in the mighty chorus of ‘Would That I’, ‘Dinner and Diatribes’ and ‘Sunlight’.

Similarly, ‘Nina Cried Power’ is full of vigour and volume with the use of the gospel choir paying tribute to the American civil rights era, namechecking the leg-ends of John Lennon, James Brown, Nina Simone, and Mavis Staples (who features on the track).

Smooth rhythms operate throughout the album, with ‘Talk’ sounding hypnotic, ‘Almost (Sweet Music)’ probably provides this record’s equivalent to ‘Some-one New’ with the same upbeat vibe and is for sure one that’ll get stuck in your head.

1546Photo: Hozier Live

Hozier has returned with proof he is more than just a one-track wonder and I believe I am going to love this album as much as the first. It may not immediately hit you as an excellent record, but I urge you to give it time.

Following up an album after five years is always going to be difficult as the audience has grown so
attached to the first record, yet this release is just as brilliant, drawing out more of Hozier’s immense
talent and exhibiting it in different ways.


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