Five years after the release of his eponymous debut album, Hozier returned with his second studio album, Wasteland, Baby! earlier this year.
After performing at Glastonbury in July as part of the promotional tour for the album, the artist is due to perform in Manchester on Thursday, September 19 at the O2 Apollo.
No stranger to the Manchester music scene, Hozier was known to make appearances at ‘secret gigs’ when he was less well known as a performer.
For example, in 2014 he performed in a Chapel Street apartment in Salford at a secret Sofar Sounds gig.
As a more well-known artist, Hozier has produced surprisingly little new music to fuel his fans.
Performing his debut album until late 2016, he then took a year off to write some new material. He returned in 2018 with the EP Nina Cried Power, which features tracks which would eventually be part of his second studio album, such as Shrike and Nina Cried Power.
The 29-year-old then released the three singles Movement, Almost (Sweet Music) and Dinner & Diatribes between November 2018 and February 2019.
The new album was officially released a month after the release of Dinner & Diatribes. The critical reception of the album was generally positive, with critics on Metacritic hailing the ‘emotional gravity’ and ‘consoling’ feeling of the album.
The first track, Nina Cried Power, is an important one, accompanied by a video that acknowledges the important work of Irish activists who contributed to important socio-cultural changes in Ireland. Activists featuring in the video include Anna Cosgrove, Maria Walsh and Sam Blanckensee.
Other highlights on the album include tracks such as Almost (Sweet Music), Movement, Shrike, and the titular track Wasteland, Baby!. These tracks all evoke the melancholy feeling that Hozier’s music is well known for.
More upbeat tracks such as No Plan and To Noise Making (Sing) are a newer venture for the artist and, whilst they received less praise from music critics, many fans on Metacritic found the change in style to be fresh and exciting, citing the ‘great acoustic riffs’ and ‘amazing vocal lines’ as reasons why critics were wrong to find fault with the tracks.
Overall, the album is highly recommended by fans, and some tickets are still available for the anticipated Manchester concert in September.
*Image courtesy of Kayla Johnson via Flickr, with thanks.