With a chorus reminiscent of classic Elton John and viral video amassing more than 100 million YouTube views, “Take Me to Church” quickly placed Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne (aka Hozier) on America’s musical pulpit. While there’s nothing as catchy as this Grammy-nominated single from his self-titled debut, the album is brimming with atmospheric ear candy that urges to be heard.
"Take Me to Church," by Hozier
From the Irish singer-songwriter Hozier's self-titled debut
Listening to Hozier’s haunting vocals for the first time, it’s hard not to think of when Gotye burst onto the scene with the impassioned “Somebody That I Used to Know” — his voice and style starkly original. The same can be said of Hozier’s seductive sound, a bountiful blend of gospel (“Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene”), blues (“To Be Alone”), and folk (“Like Real People Do”).
Lyrically, Hozier explores complex topics, such as organized religion and the effect of destructive relationships. At times, however, moody shifts to macabre — as on “Work Song” and the Celtic folk duet “In a Week,” about two dead lovers in a field: “After the insects have made their claim/ After the foxes have known our taste/ I’d be home with you.”
The album’s best tracks tend to be the more upbeat ones, such as the superb R&B stomper “Jackie and Wilson”; jaunty love song “From Eden”; and soulful “Someone New,” a nod to one’s dalliances.
Songs: (1) Take Me to Church (2) Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene (3) Jackie and Wilson (4) Someone New (5) To Be Alone (6) From Eden (7) In a Week (8) Sedated (9) Work Song (10) Like Real People Do (11) It Will Come Back (12) Foreigner’s God (13) Cherry Wine (Live)