There’s a long-running joke that in between the release of this 2019 album and his 2014 self-titled debut, the almost-intimidatingly tall irishman with the voice of the most mesmerising of enchanters, Hozier, has been spending his time buried somewhere in the deepest of forests, mayhaps in a bog, perhaps as the reigning monarch of some forgotten fairy court. The joke is founded, not only in his almost inhuman expression of emotion when singing, but in the choice expanse of topics covered within the 14 bops of his tracklist. Indeed, they range from the mythical and mystical, with tracks like ‘Talk’ or ‘Would that I’, to the most intimate and soul-bearing, à la ‘Shrike’, to even the basest and most beautiful of human desires in ‘Dinners & Diatribes.’ If there is a criticism to make of Wasteland, Baby!, it is perhaps the continuation of these same themes from his aforementioned debut, but if his lyricism and authenticity appealed in that previous album, I promise you will find no fault in this. In fact, if this is the kind of album we get after a mere five years in that mossy slumber, then, as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready and willing to wait five more for another. Take your time, your visionary highness. The fae king is dead; long live the fae king!
[Ròisìn Fletcher – @ascndent]