ALBUM REVIEW: 'Wasteland, Baby!'- Hozier
Wasteland, Baby has some powerful moments that shows Hozier's growth in songwriting, but the potholes along the way leave a lot for wanting.
GENRE: SOUL / INDIE ROCK/ BLUES ROCK In his latest album 'Wasteland, Baby!", Hozier engages in a juggling act between his gravitas, and his pop sensibilities. The track list covers the whole nine yards of his own unique brand of folk-soul, with some tracks like "To Noise Making (Sing)" sounding poppier in comparison to his other tracks. The sentiment is good, celebrating the joy of making music and self-expression, but at times the production gets a bit clunky. However it's not all bad, as the pop sound still contains an angelic wholesomeness to it, with choirs and a very decent groove, interspersed with lyrics that are filled with joy, or if not unadulterated happiness, a good dose of optimism.
The single "Nina Cried Power" still tops the list as one of the best tracks, with its profound tribute to the people who have made today's revolutions and civil rights possible, featuring soul legend herself, Mavis Staples. There's also the cool bassline in "Talk" , and the elevated, more electronic production in the song "Movement", which shows the sense of drive that Hozier puts in this album that's incomparable to his previous works. The tracks that suffer a bit on this album are forgettable, and only serves as a filler. Although the guitar tones in No Plan are beautiful, the rest of the song sounds like the typical Hozier cut, with not much really pushing the overall mood. This also applies to the song Would That I where you get tinny percussions starting the sound, but then slowly devolving into pretty much the same old stuff. That being said, the more stripped down moments in the album tend to stand out like landmarks, like with the Irish folk serenade "Shrike" (I couldn't utter my love when it counted, Ah, but I'm singing like a bird, bout it now) or the title track "Wasteland, Baby!" which uses the metaphor of an apocalypse for the tumultuous nature of love. The album doesn't have that same punch at times, sounding unnecessarily repetitive or familiar. But there are enough cuts on "Wasteland, Baby!" to keep you hooked for a while. In the few tracks that Hozier does it good, his wonderful voice serves as an reliable bastion for his warmth melodies and soulful cries.
RATING: 3.5 / 5 FAVOURITE TRACKS: Nina Cries Power, Shrike, Movement WORST TRACKS: No Plan