Irish singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Andrew Hozier-Byrne released his first full album worldwide on Oct. 7. Hozier’s self-titled album includes 13 songs, four of which are completely new and not featured on his previous EPs.
Hozier is a relatively new indie-rock artist who also falls under the blues and soul genre. His first EP, “Take Me to Church,” was released in 2013 with its title track reaching number one on Ireland’s iTunes. His second EP, “From Eden,” was released earlier this year. He is the son of a blues musician and was part of the Irish choral group “Anuna.” According to Spotify, related and similar artists include MS MR, Banks, St. Lucia and Bon Iver.
I discovered Hozier on one of Spotify’s playlists this summer with his song “From Eden” and immediately loved it. This song had an upbeat tempo combined with a soulful voice that I had not heard for a long time. Other songs on his EPs featured more of a bluesy sound. Two of his most popular songs, “Take Me to Church” and “Work Song,” demonstrate a slower rock and highlight his incredible vocals.
I was slightly disappointed when I realized that “Hozier” only featured four unheard songs. These songs strongly show his R&B and blues background. I believe the song “Jackie and Wilson” is the best representation of this.
One of my favorite new songs from “Hozier” is “In A Week” which features singer Karen Cowley. Fans of the folk duo “The Civil Wars” will enjoy this song for its slower country sound and powerful female vocals.
“Foreigner’s God,” is another new song that deserves some recognition. This song is very reminiscent of his first EP and “Take Me to Church” because of its incredible instrumental sounds and wide vocal range.
Several songs from his EPs have been tweaked for their release on the album. The most evident example of this was in the song “From Eden.” It now features a longer instrumental break that takes on a completely different sound than the rest of the song. The break almost has a Latin flare to it. In itself, it sounds great, but in relation to the upbeat, swingy song, it sounds out of place.
Overall, this is an incredible first album for the artist. It definitely has its quirks, but it does a fantastic job showcasing his work and the incredibly wide range that he has. It has powerful ballads, lighter and bouncy pieces and intelligent lyrics throughout. If you are looking for new music, I strongly recommend “Hozier.”