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Alternative & Indie - Released July 20, 2014 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 1, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2014 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 16, 2013 | Rubyworks

Take Me To Church is the debut EP and by Irish singer/songwriter Andrew Hozier Byrne, who goes simply by his middle name Hozier. Released in 2013, the title track and lead single is a dark, moody meditation on sexuality which provocatively blends elements of blues, choral, and modern indie folk music. Drenched in a rainstorm of reverb, Hozier's strong voice recalls the backwoods soulfulness of Bon Iver on the dreamy "Like Real People Do," but owes more of a debt to classic blues and northern soul on the gritty "Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene." The four-song release is rounded out by the atmospheric live solo recording of the folky "Cherry Wine" complete with birdsong twittering in the background. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 1, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Hozier's great trick is how he hangs suspended between past and present, drawing upon old forms without sounding traditional. This gift is what fueled "Take Me to Church," a bit of protest neo-gospel that became an unexpected international blockbuster in 2014 -- a success so great, the Irish singer/songwriter was in no need to hurry up with a sequel. He certainly took his time to release Wasteland, Baby!, a sophomore set delivered nearly a half-decade after his debut. Given that lengthy gap, it's appropriate that Wasteland, Baby! feels considered, its every move telegraphing a deliberate decision. That's as true of Hozier's lyrics -- which use Nina Simone and Duke Ellington as signifiers, tying him to a heritage that's not quite his own -- as it is of the ruminative music, which feels contemplative even when the tempo quickens. Hozier may be moody but he doesn't dodge happiness, nor does he avoid modern accouterments. These two trends culminate on "Nobody," a lightly rolling piece of pop-soul that seems nearly ebullient in this context, but even his melancholy moments feel open-hearted. Much of this draws from the same well as "Take Me to Church" -- there's more than a hint of soul and gospel, tempered with arty arena rock that's drawn equally from U2 and Peter Gabriel -- but the overall feeling isn't anguished, it's consoling. It's a subtle but notable shift that lends emotional gravity to a singer/songwriter who already favored weighty topics. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 21, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 6, 2014 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

The recipient of much hype and praise for his breakthrough single "Take Me to Church," Ireland's Hozier does plenty to back it up on his self-titled debut LP. A soulful voice and a brooding mystique can get you a long way but fortunately, most of the material here is well-written enough to warrant a deeper look at the young artist many have labeled an old soul. Like fellow Irishman Van Morrison did decades before, Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) draws on the soul and R&B of Jackie Wilson and runs it through the mystery white-boy filter of Jeff Buckley, adding a touch of Bon Iver's rural indie aesthetic to mix into his own dark cocktail. Moodcraft and vibe are where Hozier is at his most effective and he hits his mark on the eerie, midnight-hour blues of "Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene" with its subtle layers of creepy choir boy and gospel vocals. It's the logical sequel to his equally haunting "Take Me to Church," which leads off this set. Coming in at 53 minutes and 13 tracks, the record is probably a bit too lengthy. The album's best tracks, like the warm, laid-back "Someone New" and the grandiose shuffling of "From Eden" are all front loaded in the first half, while side two feels a bit weighed down with a few too many slow, contemplative pieces. When you're dealing with the kind of spells Hozier is casting, it's always best to leave them wanting more. Still, the dirge blues of "It Will Come Back," with its dirty fiddle and electric guitar pairing, manages to rattle the church pews enough to help anchor the back half. In spite of its extra padding and occasional foibles, it's a strong debut and Hozier is far more commanding and convincing than so many other blues-inspired young turks lurking conspicuously in the alleyways of indiedom. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 6, 2018 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Hozier eased back into activity in the late summer of 2018 with "Nina Cried Power," a tribute to Nina Simone featuring Mavis Staples. "Nina Cried Power" provided the anchor for a digital EP that allowed Hozier to introduce his first new songs since "Take Me to Church" became an international sensation in 2013 and 2014. Hozier leans into the gospel undercurrent of "Take Me to Church" on "Nina Cried Power," playing with Southern soul rhythms and featuring Staples on supporting vocals. It's an evocative single matched by the spectral, quiet "NFMBW," which relies on mystery over melody. Hozier switches the pace with the churchy blues stomp of "Moment's Silence (Common Tongue)," which is then countered by "Shrike," a moody, folky number that suggests his native Ireland. Each of the four songs feel carefully considered in both construction and presentation and their deliberate nature make for a good re-introduction to Hozier: instead of striving to top his smash, he's taking his time to build upon it. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 9, 2014 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2020 | Rubyworks

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 20, 2014 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

The recipient of much hype and praise for his breakthrough single "Take Me to Church," Ireland's Hozier does plenty to back it up on his self-titled debut LP. A soulful voice and a brooding mystique can get you a long way but fortunately, most of the material here is well-written enough to warrant a deeper look at the young artist many have labeled an old soul. Like fellow Irishman Van Morrison did decades before, Hozier (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) draws on the soul and R&B of Jackie Wilson and runs it through the mystery white-boy filter of Jeff Buckley, adding a touch of Bon Iver's rural indie aesthetic to mix into his own dark cocktail. Moodcraft and vibe are where Hozier is at his most effective and he hits his mark on the eerie, midnight-hour blues of "Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene" with its subtle layers of creepy choir boy and gospel vocals. It's the logical sequel to his equally haunting "Take Me to Church," which leads off this set. Coming in at 53 minutes and 13 tracks, the record is probably a bit too lengthy. The album's best tracks, like the warm, laid-back "Someone New" and the grandiose shuffling of "From Eden" are all front loaded in the first half, while side two feels a bit weighed down with a few too many slow, contemplative pieces. When you're dealing with the kind of spells Hozier is casting, it's always best to leave them wanting more. Still, the dirge blues of "It Will Come Back," with its dirty fiddle and electric guitar pairing, manages to rattle the church pews enough to help anchor the back half. In spite of its extra padding and occasional foibles, it's a strong debut and Hozier is far more commanding and convincing than so many other blues-inspired young turks lurking conspicuously in the alleyways of indiedom. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 17, 2016 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 21, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 2018 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 4, 2015 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Hozier in the magazine
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