As featured in the Metro Herald // http://gometro.ie/2014/09/album-reviews-hozier-shows-his-worth/
Has an Irish artist ever been quite as hyped as Wicklow’s Andrew Hozier-Byrne? It’s been a fascinating climb for the unassuming 24-year-old, who has gone from fêted prospect to genuine star in 12 short months.
Debut single Take Me To Church was the catalyst for it all. A viral sensation, its powerful anti-homophobic video struck a chord worldwide, racking up over 10million YouTube views to date.
Since then, the Hozier hype-train has rocketed on nicely, with everyone from Stephen Fry to David Letterman buying their ticket. Thankfully, on this evidence, such acclaim is justified. Someone New is the pick of the bunch, channelling Van Morrison to impossibly joyous effect, while the upbeat pop-punch of Jackie And Wilson is similarly impressive.
As a songwriter, he proves more mournful than fans might have anticipated; with recurring references to sex and death, not least on the macabre folk-jaunt In A Week.
Musically, it’s a predominantly linear affair and despite some nice gospel and blues flourishes, Hozier’s soulful baritone is always the undisputed centre-piece. The understated production from Rob Kirwan wisely lets this shine through and Hozier’s delivery is always so spirited, so reverential, that it’s no surprise the masses have been enraptured.
After a bright start the pace slackens towards the end and at 13 tracks, it would have benefited from some quality control. Still, there’s enough here to prove that Hozier is very much the real deal.