tue 17/09/2019

CD: Hozier - Hozier | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Hozier - Hozier

CD: Hozier - Hozier

Irish singer-songerwriter's debut contains rich pickings

Hozier, mysterious rustic blues written all over his face

All lovers of music have styles they're drawn to and others they loathe. For me the continuing rise of the whiney, vulnerable, male singer-songwriter, his falsetto-flecked voice emoting non-specific but all-encompassing woes, is anathema. Poor old Jeff Buckley, dead these last 17 years, has so much to answer for. The gigantic and continuing public appetite for solipsistic carefully highlighted sensitivity, from Damien Rice to Ben Howard - and way too many more - is apparently and unfortunately endless.

The arrival, then, of flop-haired, falsetto-flecked 24-year-old singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne from County Wicklow, Ireland, replete with a major label-backed pre-fame Later With Jools Holland appearance, was unlikely to get my juices going (except the bile). Hozier, however, defies such prejudice and doesn’t deserve this dismissal. Sure, he has rubbish Wetherspoons-friendly James Morrison rockers on board, such as the nauseating “Someone New”, but, for the most part, he takes his classical training, his time in Celtic choir Anúna, and an infectious take on the blues, and comes up with something engaging, contagiously epic and likeable.

He opens with his breakthrough song “Take Me to Church”, a Top 5 hit in his home country and the most immediately powerful song on the album, a pleading, melancholic gospel-tinged number with hints of Aloe Blacc’s pop power. From there he rambles with easy familiarity through elegiac spiritual head-nodders such as “Work Song”, doomed blues moans such as “To Be Alone”, and haunted iPhone-age gospel-pop such as “Sedated”, the latter coming on like Jamie Woon meeting Strickland Banks-era Plan B.

It’s too early to say but Hozier might just be the real deal. Whatever he is, it’s our good fortune his music has more in common with the adventurousness of Robert Plant in a thoughtful, folky mood than with David Gray, Jack Johnson and all that river of dysentery.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Take Me to Church"

He takes his classical training, his time in Celtic choir Anúna, and an infectious take on the blues, and comes up with something engaging, contagiously epic and likeable

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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