Irish singer/songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne or more commonly known by his stage name, Hozier has just recently released his debut self-titled album. Having already been released in Ireland, international fans of the budding indie rock star can purchase the album in October after its global release. Appearing out of nowhere on the indie folk rock scene in 2013 with his hit single “Take Me To Church”, Hozier instantly turned heads. Now readying his debut album, Hozier is set to take the spotlight.
Hozier is a soulful and extremely solid indie rock album that has a powerful kick throughout. Starting off with the breakthrough single “Take Me To Church”, a slow building track that truly highlights Byrne’s beautiful vocals and guitar play. Picking up speed with “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene”, Byrne displays a faster paced, foot-stomping affair that is sure to become a staple at live shows. Quickly followed by two of the most positive and optimistic sounding songs on the whole album. “Jackie and Wilson” and “Someone New” are upbeat folk rock epics, that are a pleasant respite from the much gloomier sounding first two tracks.
The pace slows down considerably with “To Be Alone”, which is a painful love ballad that sends shivers up your spine. This segue’s into Byrne’s most recent single “From Eden” that is quite possibly runner-up for second most hypnotic song on the album. Track number seven, “In A Week”, features the only duet on the album and Byrne’s soulful lyrics are accompanied by Karen Cowley’s delicate vocals. It is hard to top this fantastic partnership but track eight “Sedated”, does just that. One word to describe this hidden gem of a song is “Anthemic”. Easily one of the the strongest tracks on the album, you are looking at a future single in “Sedated”.
Byrne does not stop the waterworks as the soulful and sad track “Work Song” keeps the momentum going. The almost Bon Iver sounding track “Like Real People Do”, is a slow haunting song that demonstrates his softer vocal range. “It Will Come Back” and “Foreigners God” are bluesy hard-hitting tracks that shake you to your bones and are undeniably catchy. They become a perfect introduction to the albums soft sounding finale. “Cherry Wine”, is a heartfelt ending to a versatile indie rock album that will no doubt be placed in the years top rock albums lists. The quiet plucking of Byrne’s guitar and smooth lyrical delivery make for a slow yet satisfying ending.
The album is an extremely competent debut for the blues/soul singing Irishman. Hozier finds strength from Byrne’s incredible vocals and intricate song writing. With his meteoric rise in the music world and the impending global release of his self-titled album, there is no telling how far Byrne will go. Look forward to one of the best soul/folk rock albums to be released in recent years.
Final Grade: B+