by Lauren Edwards
Hozier – Wasteland Baby!
Hozier’s Wasteland Baby! comes back four years after his self-titled album and he doesn’t disappoint. His lung power ignites crescendos that blow through the ceiling, complemented by rolling waves of swinging rhythms and guitar riffs.
First track “Nina Cried Power” hits with such intense force it could move mountains. It exudes reminiscence of vintage protests and builds even more with Mavis Staples’ strong vocals. You can hear the political anger in lyrics like “it is the bringing of the line/it is the baring of the rhyme/it’s not the waking it’s the rising.” Both artists cite iconic artists during the civil rights era like Billie Holliday, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and John Lennon.
“Almost” strikes a chord in a sweeter, romanticized way with gospel rhythms. “Be” and “Dinner & Diatribes” showcase the toe-tapping-head-nodding music talents, which satisfy the four-year-long wait. Hozier also embraces his folky guitar melodies on “As It Was” and the slow-burning, perfectly paced “Shrike.”
Hozier saves “Wasteland Baby!” for last on the 14-track album. Coming down from a burning introduction, Hozier touches more deeply on his softly focussed sounds, finishing with a soothing lullaby, he sings as if fully submerged in water.