Hozier - Hozier

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Hozier - Hozier

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45% positive

4 reviews from the community

Review of "Hozier - Hozier"

published 19/01/2015 | jojoborne
Member since : 24/02/2011
Reviews : 235
Members who trust : 92
About me :
Thanks for all the rates. Appreciated :0)
Not for me
Pro None for me. Found it dull and annoying in parts
Cons Theme for me. Melancholy. Songs all sound the same.
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"My brain needs a hosing down after this one!"

Hozier by Hozier

Like most artists Andrew Hozier-Byrne has been playing pubs, clubs and busking for about five years now. Often people don’t realise how much hard work it takes to even get noticed. The younger generation are spoiled with YouTube (which I think is a good thing) and programs like the X-Factor (which I don’t) propelling first-timers instantly into the limelight; only to be dumped by the music mogul-type bosses like Simon Cowell, when they realise just how much they have manufactured these people, who more often than not fail when it comes to managing their careers because they have no clue as to how the music industry works or how to tread the path.

Most people will recognise Hozier from his single ‘Take me to Church’. This single was formed into the singer’s first ep or short play album in 2013. He would go on to produce a second ep ‘From Eden’ before finally managing to record his first album ‘Hozier’ that I will be reviewing here.

I have a varied taste when it comes to music. I am an eighties pop hound and still follow and regularly go to see Duran Duran and Simple Minds. I’m into alternative and indie music and follow Blood Red Shoes, Klaxons and many many other groups. I am also partial to a bit of Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush. I love modern pop and follow Marina Diamandis, Ellie Goulding, Charli XCX and Lorde and I like to see small independent bands that are starting out; although admittedly not so much these days as it is all getting rather expensive.

This leads me neatly into the fact that I must admit that Hozier is not really my cup of tea. I was given the album free before Christmas 2014 and I had listened to it once previously and left feeling indifferent to it. So with that said I will try and be as honest as possible when reviewing each song, but please bear in mind my initial thoughts on the album.


Background

Andrew was born in Bray, County Wicklow in Ireland and is known by a lot of his fans from his work with alternative choral band Anúna. I saw Andrew with the band in Holland in 2011.


His musical life and pedigree would be garnered at Trinity College where he began a degree. After being spotted by Universal Music he dropped out of his studies in the first year to record for them instead.

Anúna released an album in 2012 called ‘Illumination’ and Andrew appeared on that singing "La Chanson de Mardi Gras" solo. He was with the band between 2008 and 2012.


In 2013, Hozier released the EP Take Me to Church (also containing "Like Real People Do", "Angel of Small Death and The Codeine Scene" and a live version of "Cherry Wine.


Take me to Church was seen on YouTube and after being recorded It reached number one on the Irish iTunes singles chart and number two in the official chart on 25 October 2013.

His second ep From Eden (also containing "Work Song", "Arsonist's Lullabye" and a live version of "To Be Alone") also went down well with his fans and following.

Hozier released his self-titled album, Hozier on 19 September 2014.


Some of the singles including "Take Me to Church", "Work Song", and "From Eden", were hits on his earlier EPs.


On December 2014, it was announced that "Take Me to Church" was nominated at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for Song of the Year in 2015.


The Deluxe edition of the album, which I have, contains Arsonist’s Lullabye from the From Eden ep and an extra bonus song ‘My Love Will Never Die’.


The Album – Hozier


Track One – Take Me to Church


The track that got Andrew Hozier-Byrne noticed on YouTube and his hit single that has been nominated as the tune of the year for 2015. So what does it sound like? Well, to be honest, I don’t find it that special. The chorus is quite nice and Andrew’s voice is quite good, but it is all a bit too religious in notion for me, with too much mention of God. Not bad if you’re religious of course and not knocking it for that reason, but I am an atheist, so it doesn’t hold any truths for me. Not a bad song lyrically but the religious vibe puts me off.


Track Two – Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene


The second track starts with a humming Hozier, which seems like it has been sampled to give that ‘stuck down a well’ sound. Some nice guitar work and his voice is strong. Reminds me too much of Springsteen when he gets his choral vibe going, which can be over-the-top at times and this is no different. The track has some kick but it still never really delivers for me.


Track Three – Jackie & Wilson

A more upbeat guitar riff to kick off this song; it reminds me a little of Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis & the News. Not a bad song and the backing choir are in full force on this one. There are some nice rhythmic combinations in the track.


Track Four – Someone New


Exactly the same length as the last track and I would like to say that that is where the similarity ends, but four songs into the album and I am feeling that ‘samey’ vibe and it is starting to grate on me. The chorus in this song annoys me to be honest and I won’t be listening to it again (probably not the previous three tracks either to be honest).


Track Five – To Be Alone

The next track is almost double the length and now I am starting to wish I had never started listening to be honest. I by no means mean that to detract from Hozier’s obvious talent, but it is just not for me at all and this song absolutely went through me and I had to turn it off. You know that feeling when for some reason a song makes you feel sick? Well, this is one of those songs for me.


Track Six – From Eden

An attempt at being a little more upbeat again with this next song, but it is only really a token commitment. It is another stop/start song that never really gets going. Andrew’s voice is very clear and very true, so I have to give him credit for that, but the continually humming choir in the background is a tad annoying.


Track Seven – In a Week

Andrew is joined on this track by Irish singer Karen Cowley. This is another track that I could not abide and had to turn it off after hearing the first chorus. It does nothing for me at all.


Track Eight – Sedated


This track takes a different route in the fact that it is mainly piano based. The chorus is another chanting affair with the backing singers hacking out underneath Andrews’s main vocals. Not a bad song. The lyrics are OK and his voice is good again.


Track Nine – Work Song

After a slightly more upbeat track last song we are thrown back into the pits of doom and despair. The start of this track has slow hand clapping, which continues throughout. Another song that I could not listen to again. The chorus makes the song sound like ‘Take Me to Church’ for some reason. It has that same vibe, but to be honest, that is no strange thing or a coincidence, as most of the album sounds the same.


Track Ten – Like Real People Do


An acoustic preamble at the start of this song that sounds like Springsteen’s Seeger sessions. Sounds to gospel for me and doesn’t really do anything for me at all. There are some nice haunting backing vocals but the whole track feels like it is going to come of the tracks at any second; it is just too slow and rambling and ponderous for me.


Track Eleven – It Will Come Back

It seems that after the Seeger-like murmurings of the last track that Andrew thought he would try and play the guitar Springsteen- blues style. I think Andrew could actually do pretty well with a rock album that is not so religion based. This song sounds more accomplished, but he seems to shout a little too much and be too aggressive on the vocals.


Track Twelve – Foreigner’s God

I wasn’t holding out much hope on this one just because of the title to be honest. Andrews’s voice is strong again and he is joined at the start by a piano again. There is a snare drum shuffling along with him too. This is not a bad song but the chorus lets it down. It is one of those repetitive choruses that seem like a stuck record that has been tagged together because he couldn’t think of any more lyrics to place in there.


Track Thirteen – Cherry Wine (Live)

Not sure why this song has ‘Live’ in the title as there are no sounds of an audience at all in this track. Maybe it was live in the sense that it was recorded outside of the recording studio. Not a bad effort, but still not my cup of tea to be honest. The acoustic guitar sounds good and his voice is clear as usual.


Track Fourteen – In the Woods Somewhere

This is a track that promises to break into a massive ballad and does manage it in some ways. Andrew’s voice is really keen on this one and he switches between low and high tones to good effect. The chorus has bashing drums and a raucous guitar that is backed by haunting backing vocals. Reminds me a little of Nick Cave.

Track Fifteen – Run


For those of you hoping for a cover of Snow Patrol’s epic, ‘Run’ then I am afraid you will be, sadly, let down. Nice voice from Andrew again and a cool riffing electric acoustic guitar to accompany it. This had the potential to be my favourite song on the album and one that I actually liked, but unfortunately it didn’t materialise into what I thought it would.


Bonus Tracks from Deluxe Version


Track Sixteen – Arsonist’s Lullaby

More humming from Andrew and the backing singers at the start of this one. His voice is accompanied by a heavy-laced guitar and some pounding drum and base and the vocals are clear again. The piano sounds quite good later on in the track and the haunting vocals do actually work in this one.

Track Seventeen – My Love Will Never Die


An acoustic guitar opens this one and for some strange reason this is backed by birdsong? This has the same acoustic feel as Cherry Wine (Track Thirteen). Well, the album is ended pretty much the way the rest of the album sounds; in a downbeat and pretty normal fashion. This song, like most of the others is nothing special and I will not be able to remember it in ten minutes, which for me is no bad thing.


My Thoughts


Well, after initially saying that I would give the album a chance after only listening to it once when I first had it, I must say that I can understand why I only listened to it once on the second listen.

This album is not for me at all in no way, shape or form. In fact, I think I will take it to a charity shop this afternoon.


Andrew’s voice is good enough and he has talent, that is evident on the album, but for me the content is not there. For someone who likes this type of music then it may well be a decent album but for me it is trapped in limbo and doesn’t know whether it wants to be blues, rock or gospel. The theme doesn’t suit me and as a whole I didn’t find it very appealing at all.


I will certainly not be listening to it again.


I will say that, as an artist, I did think that the cover was pretty cool and different compared to some of the bland band covers we are treated to nowadays.

This album is not original enough for me for a debut artist. It has been done before and too much of it seems borrowed from other artists. There will be people who disagree and that is fine as that is what it is all about; different horses for different course and all that, but for me it is a bit of a bomb I am afraid.


I give Hozier by Hozier one out of five stars

©Lee Billingham

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Comments on this review

  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 16/07/2017
    Great
  • StewwyB published 11/10/2015
    very well reviewed
  • spanielize published 02/04/2015
    very well reviewed
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Product Information : Hozier - Hozier

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Product Details

Sub Genre: Alternative

Original Release Year: 2014

EAN: 5060351849753

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Listed on Ciao since: 18/11/2014