The first thing I heard from Hozier was the EP From Eden and I was immediately impressed and then a little worried. Of the four songs on the EP only one does not appear on Hozier and it’s a doozie. “From Eden,” “To Be Alone,” and “Work Song” appear on Hozier and rank with the best songs of the album, but one little gem escaped the pressing of the LP and the first time I heard it I wondered if I had discovered some underground psychotic instead of a mainstream artist.
“From Eden” and “Work Song” were impressive from first hearing and then came the third song of the EP, “Arsonist’s Lullabye.” Now while I am fully aware that Shakespeare is not his characters and was probably a much better host than Lady McBeth and a much better friend than Iago, when you do not know an artist and suddenly they are convincingly singing about hearing voices and their apparent fascination with fire...it can be alarming. That’s an accomplishment in an age in which some subgenres have chosen guns and death as an associative pastime to music—or the other way around; it’s difficult to be shocked by lyrics these days.
“Arsonist’s Lullabye” did manage to convince me to check out Andrew Hozier-Byrne’s bio. He’s more Shakespeare than Iago or arsonist, that’s for sure. The other EP, Take Me to the Church, is fully represented on Hozier, leaving “Arsonist’s Lullabye” the only song not represented on the album and one of the most interesting of his output thus far. And don’t let his current success fool you into thinking he’s plunking down less than stellar tunes; Andrew Hozier-Byrne is an excellent songwriter, good enough to make me research his relationship with fire.