Hozier: 'Wasteland Baby!' on Saturday, April 13, at the Knitting Factory 

click to enlarge hozier.jpg

Screen capture, PBS NewsHour

In September 2017, Irish musician Hozier tweeted a photo of a bowl of oatmeal, captioned “We’re approaching porridge weather. Two hands heated on a hot vessel held weather. Sleeve over hand, hand under jumper weather.”

Several fans responded requesting new music, not pictures of porridge. Hozier’s response? “First oats are made, then music.”

Well, it’s no longer porridge weather, and to celebrate, Hozier has released his second full-length album, Wasteland, Baby! (Rubyworks Records, March 1).

Hozier’s success and style is branded off his old single, "Take Me to Church," and his new release is essentially a 14-song expansion of that track.

It kicks off with "Nina Cried Power," a soulful gospel anthem about speaking truth to power that includes tributes to a laundry list of legends—Nina Simone, John Legend, Bob Dylan—who did just that.

The album then moves into "Almost (Sweet Music)," a swinging beat full of energy powered by Hozier’s powerful vocals. It leads to thoughtless smiles and dancing.

Hozier’s folksy Irish roots come forth on other standouts like "Shrike," an intimate ballad balanced between finger plucked strings and the singer’s bellows. Then comes "Would That I," which starts subtly and acoustically, but pivots into a chorus so strong, so hair-raising that it makes me want to throw down my own bowl of oatmeal and wail alongside Hozier at the top of my lungs.

Few albums are consistently this good start to finish, and it goes to show that patience and a bowl of porridge really pay off.

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