Irish musician Andrew Hozier-Byrne, better known as Hozier, catapulted onto the Irish music scene in 2013 when his breakthrough single ‘Take Me to Church’ went viral on YouTube with 80,000 views two days after being posted online in September. The single then went on to reach Number One on the Irish iTunes singles chart, and Number Two in the official chart on October 25th. But the singer-songwriter is by no means a one-hit wonder; with the acoustic resonance and palatability of Bon Iver, and similar soul roots to up-and-coming acoustic singer Ella Eyre, this talented 23-year-old musician is fresh in his career and set to go far in 2014.
‘Take Me to Church’, taken off his 2013 four-track E.P. of the same name, is a sombre, jazz-infused track with heavy piano chords, which are only intensified by Hozier’s deep vocals and accompanied choral-like backing. The full power and extent of the singer’s voice is realised in this track, as he switches flawlessly from falsetto to chest voice, high to low from chorus to verse.
‘Like Real People Do’ (taken from the same E.P.) on the other hand, takes a softer, slower, acoustic turn; still accompanied by ethereal backing vocals, his gentle voice accompanied by a harmonious, acoustic guitar riff lends itself to artists such as Bon Iver and Ben Howard, producing a sound that is simply lovely to listen to. Taking a departure from the sobriety of ‘Take Me to Church,’ it’s a simple love song as Hozier says, “Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips, we should just kiss like real people do.”
‘Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene’ returns the artist to his jazz and soul roots, with its upbeat syncopated rhythm and sultry vocals not dissimilar to Miike Snow, before ‘Cherry Wine’ dips back into slow acoustic, emphasising the diversity in Hozier’s style.
A talented artist who sings with sincerity, and set to play Reading and Leeds Festival this year, Hozier is not one to miss in 2014. Being just at the start of his career with currently just a mere four-track E.P. under his belt, my ears are hungry for the acoustic artist’s first full-length album.