Album of the Week: Hozier, 'Wasteland, Baby!'


Hozier, 'Wasteland Baby'
Hozier, 'Wasteland Baby' (Courtesy of artist)

I remember hearing from a listener back in early 2014 who had been to Ireland and discovered a singer-songwriter named Hozier. It wasn't long after when "Take Me To Church" hit the U.S. In hindsight it felt like an instant hit, but for the fans living in that in the moment, it took the world a long minute to catch onto the captivating voice of Andrew Hozier-Byrne. Titled, Wasteland, Baby!, Hozier's sophomore album is a perfect follow up to his international hit.

Instead of capitalizing on the formula of his past, the Irish songwriter digs into R&B and jazz influences in an attempt to make a step forward for an artist. The opening single, "Nina Cried Power," (which is also the title track to the EP released leading up to the album) is a powerful statement of a song featuring the legendary Mavis Staples. While the rest of the album isn't packed with that kind of star power, Wasteland, Baby! contains the tender hooks that Hozier has become known for along with crooning ballads like "Movement."

Like his first album, Hozier has songwriting credits on all fourteen songs (Sallay Matu Garnett had a co-writing credit on "Someone New"), but for the new release, Hozier shared production credits with "Take Me To Church" producer Rob Kirwan along with Markus Dravs (Coldplay, Arcade Fire, and Florence and the Machine) and Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Adele, and Vampire Weekend). You can hear the use of different producers across the album with a close listen without it getting in the way of the songwriting. It's an easy listen that combines what Hozier fans love about his voice with instrumentation and arrangements that weren't present on his debut.

Hozier's new album, Wasteland, Baby!, is out now.


Hozier - Official Site

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