Nina Cried Power (Featuring Mavis Staples)
Almost (Sweet Music)
To Noise Making (Sing)
As It Was
Dinner & Diatribes
With over 2.5 billion streams, 850,000 copies sold in the UK and the honor of going platinum for good measure, Hozier took the music scene by storm after his debut album and smash hit Take Me To Church. Now back with his follow up album, Wasteland, Baby! Hozier combines thoughtful, big room vocals with an array of interesting instrumental beats across an hour of Indie Rock songs.
Wasteland, Baby! is the sort of album critics aren’t going to take to very favourably while fans are likely to flock to this one and love it. The album itself opens with a couple of tracks mirroring the same big-room feel of Take Me To Church. Nina Cried Power fills every audio channel and delivers a breathtaking vocal combined with an orchestral choir and electronic keyboard to echo the feel of this influenced directly by the blues. The album continues on this trend until it reaches the midway point and it’s here where things come undone slightly.
This midway point see the tone change to accommodate a more upbeat records into the album that don’t always nail the right vibe. Nobody and To Noise Making are great examples of this and the instrumental keys don’t quite mesh as harmonically with the vocals as they perhaps should. It’s not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the album of course but it is noticeable enough to still sound slightly jarring. By comparison, when Hozier strips everything back and goes for the more minimalist style seen in tracks like Shrike, the album really does do well.
The album continues along this rocky road, changing styles and tones with varying degrees of success before ending on a high with big-room anthem Sunlight and Indie styled Wasteland, Baby! When the audio fades out and you’re left to reflect on the album, this isn’t one you’ll likely listen to from start to finish. It is, however, an album that’ll likely do well and there are some good stand-out tracks that are worth picking out from the rest. Personal favourites include Nina Cried Power, Almost, As It Was and Shrike. Still, for star power alone Hozier’s new album will do well and even if it isn’t quite as harmonic and tightly composed as it perhaps could be, it still makes for a compelling listen nonetheless.
Verdict - 7/10