Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Album Review: Hozier - Wasteland, Baby

Hozier’s second album comes nearly five years after the Irish songwriter’s self-titled debut and the fact that he took his sweet time for a follow-up makes it all the more surprising that this new set of songs is more of the same. This is not a criticism, it’s actually quite commendable that the young singer has found his style so early in his career. And if you were one of the millions of listeners who enjoyed his massive single Take Me To Church, you will no doubt love this record.
The production style which gives the album its flavour has been in vogue for almost a decade: Imagine Dragons, fun. and the Foo Fighters have all used this mix of reverberated vocals, gospel-like choirs, pounding drums and sparse accompaniment to great effect. But under this modern sheen, Hozier is a classic, almost academic songwriter with very well-crafted tunes.

The only problem lies in the length of the record: at nearly one hour long, there is nearly not enough diversity to sustain the listener’s interest throughout. All songs are very similar in tempo and melody and end up becoming undistinguished. One one hand the album feels cohesive but on the other hand it ends up pretty monotonous.

There are some surprises here and there: a great sax solo on Dinner & Diatribes, Mavis Staple’s vocals on Nina Cried Power, some ethereal, almost acid jazz-like chords on Movement and a killer fuzz guitar on No Plan, but it all seems to blend in by the time the record finishes.

All in all it’s a quality album with compelling sounds, great singing and sharp songwriting that could benefit from being a tad shorter.

Join Apple Music HERE to listen to the entire album

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