With a booming voice that captures you with its truthful tone and songs palpable with raw emotion, Hozier’s debut album is intoxicatingly simple.
The young Irish singer-songwriter burst onto the scene just days after the release of his viral music video for his song “Take Me To Church.”
The video, a controversial commentary on the brutality of Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender violence, shocked people and introduced the world to a passionate truth-seeker. The “Take Me To Church” video helped Hozier gain traction, but it’s his raw, sincere storytelling that kept him relevant and lead to the successful release of his self-titled debut album.
The album, a compilation of Hozier’s two successful EPs “Take Me To Church” and “From Eden,” is a soulful relief from the currently electro-pop dominated popular music scene. Subtle piano lines, brutal drums, haunting gospel-choir harmonies and moody guitar lines characterize the bluesy, folk nature of the album. The raw elements of the recording emulate a very personal, live sound, almost as if we’ve caught Hozier in the middle of garage band practice.
The music itself is melodically unassuming yet inherently catchy. The familiar influences of folk and blues draw upon southern gospel and motown roots in a uniquely Hozier sound that has the ability to speak harsh truths through an intimate atmosphere.
The real magic of album lies in the lyrics. Hozier weaves compelling commentary surrounding sexuality, love, religion and death into relatable stories with incredibly vivid imagery. His catchy hooks, while repetitive, hold such powerful convictions that somehow you don’t mind as he repeats them over and over because by the end of the song that’s exactly what you wanted him to do.
However, in some instances his lyrical brevity and chord progression can get lost in their own simplicity, such as with the song “It Will Come Back.” Then, for instance, in the song “In a Week,” the lyrical genius doesn’t match the chordal tones of the song, leaving the impact half-fulfilled and eerily incomplete.
Ultimately, Hozier’s album confesses a captivating tale that alternately questions and affirms human nature. As it flows from somber, folky gospel songs such as “Take Me To Church” and “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” to an upbeat, swinging “Jackie and Wilson” to a slower, R&B tune such as “Sedated,” the album takes you on a journey.
Truly, it’s a journey you won’t want to miss.
For Fans Of: Mumford & Sons, Imagine Dragons, Of Monsters and Men
Recommended Tracks: “Sedated,” “Work Song,” “Someone New”
This article was written by Haley Buske.