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Music Hozier

Published on April 8th, 2019 | by voxx

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Hozier – Wasteland, Baby!

The big-voiced Irishman enlists R&B legends for album two…

In the 2014 battle of the big warblers, Hozier never quite reached the “your mum and all your mum’s friends love him” ubiquity of George Ezra or James Bay. The 28-year-old Irishman’s self-titled debut sold over four million copies, but there was something too sensitive and brooding about Andrew Hozier Byrne and his music that prevented the same sort of crossover.

There was the sense that maybe he was a man slightly out of time, harking back to an era where it was all about the music, man, planted in a period when Ezra is turning up to lark about on Vic & Bob’s Big Night Out.

His second album tries to hammer home the idea that Hozier is no mere singer-songwriter but someone who belongs in the lineage of Classic Artists. The opening track, a rousing gospel-rock anthem called ‘Nina Cried Power’, features co-vocals from R&B icon Mavis Staples, and ‘Movement’ artfully builds over organs and rolling drums into its powerful rock ending.

The serious stuff works for him, though. It’s when Hozier tries to do throwaway, good-time tracks that the record falters slightly: ‘Nobody’, for example, is a jangly ditty that would’ve been fine as a B-side. He’s at his best when his voice is at full bellow, backed with a percussive blast to match.

- By Jake White


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