The quietly spoken Irish singer, Andrew Hozier-Byrne (Hozier) hasn’t been afraid to cause an upset by speaking up on issues. In his first single, Take Me To Church, he lampooned the church for its treatment of homosexuals and depicted gay beatings in the accompanying video, but he surprisingly managed to get airplay and the second spot on the Irish charts. A very bold move perhaps to make as a debut artist, but his follow up EP, From Eden, lays the groundwork for the versatile artist and his upcoming album later this year.
While mostly rooted in folk and soul music, he often drifts in between genres as he pleases. In the opener and title track, From Eden, it veers towards pop and his vocals in particular, are sharp and precise, allowing him to delve into quick wordplay and help mold a radio-friendly chorus. In contrast, his astonishing live edition of Alone With You is a bluegrass/delta-blues fuelled vocal bulldozer, which really highlights his ability to leave you dumbstruck in awe. Throughout the song he broods over his obsession for this woman and the sky-scraper falsetto he howls at the end of each chorus seems to be a deeply cathartic release – almost primal.
Slow burner, Arsonist’s Lullaby (sorry for the pun), is a deeply dark, almost Black Keys-esque growl. While the lyrical content has been covered many times before, it is often the instrumentation that nails down his delivery, with the previously mentioned song turned into a forboding, thumping gospel song. The last of the four, Work Song, however, is at times grotesquely cheesy with lyrics such as “She give me toothaches just from kissing me” and would otherwise fall flat if it wasn’t due to some of his sensual imagery and its overall context within the song.
Playing every instrument on the EP, he clearly understands how to set a tone and very few of his ilk nowadays, are able to match this with the cerebrally and often politically charged lyricism he often brings to the table. This is a very promising start and somewhat proves that his chart shenanigans is not a fluke when it comes to writing catchy yet smart songs- Radio 1’s Zane Lowe has given his work airplay. While the EP isn’t particularily groundbreaking, the influences that it takes on and the overall versitility that he shows is solid. Watch this space.
What did you guys this of this album – what rating would you give and why? Comment below and let me know.