Lately most of my posts have been based on a weekly music sharing conversation with my coworkers. Of the five of us who started that conversation, one has since left the company and another is now just too busy to participate. We’ve tried including other coworkers, like my boss or my brother, but they only recommend one album the first week we invite them and that’s it.
But from time to time, while waiting for a meeting to start or riding in the elevator, someone who knows I’m into music will suggest I look into a band. Months ago my boss suggested I look into Hozier’s self-titled debut album.
The chorus of Take Me to Church was good, but I don’t know what that’s the lead single off this album. I think Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene is better. It feels like the best kind of old-time gospel music.
The biggest musical surprise for me came in the last half of the second single, From Eden. Most of the song feels like it’s in 5/4 time, which is kinda neat, but otherwise a lot of it feels like the most produced song on the album. The part that caught my attention was the flamenco-like “palmas” (that’s “claps” for all you non-Spanish/non-musical types). I didn’t really expect that from an Irish artist who seems to be recording an homage to the southern United States.
Jackie and Wilson and To Be Alone felt very much like something Jamestown Revival would have done, which makes sense why my boss would be into Hozier; he’s the one who introduced me to Jamestown Revival. They’re bluesy and seem like he’s venting his disillusionment.
The front half of the album was better than the second half, in my opinion. It Will Come Back started out feeling like a dirty Delta blues tune, but didn’t quite end that way. And the last track, Foreigner’s God, was pretty good. But between those to tracks and From Eden, there wasn’t really much that stood out to me.
I was listening to some of the other tracks he has out that weren’t on this album. Mostly it was live versions, but there was one song which he should have put on the record. Probably in place of almost anything on the back side of the album. Arsonist’s Lullaby is great. Better than anything else on the From Eden EP and one of the best things I’ve heard from him.
I feel like a lot of popular rock music is commercially calculated. I’m not saying this album wasn’t heavily produced to ensure it was commercially viable, but it does feel like these songs are honestly personal. More human. Which is how I prefer my music.
I might buy this. Not from iTunes or some other third-party, but straight from Hozier. If I’m going to spend money, I want the artist behind the music to receive as much of it as possible. But there is other music I’d prefer to get first.