Hozier’s eponymous debut is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish; opener ‘Take Me To Church’ is accompanied by a pertinent music video about persecution of same sex love – an issue close to the hearts of many, in a world that is still vastly prejudiced. If you’ve had enough of this track receiving airplay over the past few months then fear not, because the rest of this album oozes sexuality, slick riffs and swagger. If this album was a Dulux’s paint sample then it would have a shade for everyone.
‘Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene’ is crimson coloured; an infectiously catchy anthem with the Irish singer delivering the narrative with confidence you’d expect to hear in someone with albums already under their belt – not a first timer. ‘Jackie and Wilson’ is another highlight that sounds like John Mayer on crack: Andrew Hozier-Byrne’s vocal is sloppy and resultantly boyishly charming like Mayer, as a result. This song is hazel coloured, like eyes you can’t help but swim in. The angelic choral backing vocals add R&B depth and substance to this track and I challenge the listener not to stomp and sing along as the song reaches the chorus. Vintage soul infused track ‘Someone New’ has an electric orange hue and has the listener crooning along to “I fall in love just a little, oh, little bit, every day with someone new”.
Like any debut, there are a few rough patches including ‘To Be Alone’ (murky green) and the duet ‘In A Week’ (pale pink), but the tracklist is carefully architected so that these are smoothed over almost immediately with another substantial anthem. The parallelism in ‘From Eden’ makes for a beautifully crafted lyrical and as Hozier tells us “Babe there’s something tragic about you / something so magic about you” we get tingles down our spine. This track stands out from the album paint sample because it has glitter in. Bluesy track ‘It Will Come Back’ is dark blue, speckled with aspects of the Black Keys. The album’s heavier songs feel like a punch in the face, sending the listener reeling. Full of suspense, the success of this track is owed to the melody which is rigorously controlled throughout.
What Hozier demonstrates with this assured debut is flexibility and wide-ranging talent; giving the listener sparse, beautiful lyrics in maroon tinted ‘Cherry Wine’ and baby blue coloured ‘Foreigner’s God’ on top of his meatier tracks. Andrew Hozier-Byrne’s voice is not one anyone with any claim to being human can say they tire of easily, and it’s for this reason we look forward to hearing what else he can produce – hopefully over the course of a paced and successful career. There’s no point running before you can walk, but that’s irrelevant because vocal talent like this transports the listener on a cloud to wherever it is they want to go.