Review: Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier

Wasteland, Baby! by HozierTwo things make Hozier’s new album, Wasteland, Baby!, interesting. One, he refuses to stick in the lane that made him successful the first time, bringing in even more of the blues and soul into his music. The record – or at least the first half of it, before it all settles – pulses with a sense of organic excitement; you can hear him get giddy with the new tricks he gets to play. (Or, it’s just how irresistible “Nina Cried Power” is, even if we’ve heard it for months now and the song feels more like a roll call than something more significant.) Two, despite all this – and again, this is more evident by the second half of the album, when the novelty wears off – this record doesn’t sound drastically different from what came before. This isn’t necessarily a criticism; you can think he’s synthesized his new playthings really well, or you can think he’s gotten bored quickly and gone back to the old template. Still, Wasteland, Baby! is not an off record, by any means. He manages to bring all he’s got, and the life seeping through the record should be enough to keep it afloat. [NB]3/5

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