Fans have been waiting with bated breath for Irish singer-songwriter Hozier’s follow up to his 2014 self-titled debut that featured the globally popular ‘Take Me to Church’. Wait no longer. It’s ‘Wasteland, Baby’ and it’s here.
What Hozier’s new offering is most certainly not, is a wasteland. Peppered with catchy melodies that will make you sing, bluesy tunes with lyrical wisdom for young and old alike, and folksy offerings with a social conscience; the album is rich and fertile. If there was ever an album that could seem relaxed AND deliberately intense, layered with gospel choir underlays and guitar riffs, this is surely it.
Highlights include the wonderful Mavis Staples on the opener ‘Nina Cried Power’, ‘Almost (Sweet Music)’ which seems to reminisce of great songs shared with a new love, and ‘To Noise Making (Sing)’ which reminded me of the passion with which my young sons embrace a good car singalong. The album closes with a number of more subdued tracks, no less intense, but leaving you with a strong desire to listen on repeat.
Frankly, buy this whole album. I know there’s trend to buy one song at a time these days but that just won’t do with ‘Wasteland, Baby’. Get all 14 tracks. Today.
You can also catch Hozier at Byron Bay Bluesfest over Easter (as well as Mavis Staples too).