By: Jordan Sarver-Bontrager
I’ve been a fan of Hozier for a while, so I found it fitting to kick off the school year with a review of his newest album, Unreal Unearth. I’ve always liked his work: his mix of folk, pop, rock and chamber music has always been endearing to me.
His 2014 self-titled debut showed that he is a talented musician, with cuts like the famous Take Me to Church, the bluesy To Be Alone and my personal favorite track, the warm but emotional Cherry Wine. In 2019, Hozier released Wasteland, Baby! which was a suitable sequel to his debut, even if it felt a bit empty in a few spots.
After four years of fans pleading for new music, Hozier has released Unreal Unearth, and I’ve got to say, this is his best album yet. His musical chops are on full display in this emotional, sweet and warm record.
The standout tracks really lift this album. The fuzz-laden Francesca gave the record an energetic kick. My personal favorite track here is I, Carrion (Icarrion) which is an honest, emotional acoustic track that has become synonymous with Hozier. Another track I loved was the gorgeous All Things End. Hozier was able to blend pop, rock, folk, R&B, funk and traditional Irish sounds into his 62-minute opus.
While I think the album runs a little long – Son of Nyx could have been left off the track list – the album is a beautiful addition to Hozier’s discography. Some songs also run together, which makes the pace of the album slower.
Overall, Unreal Unearth is a heartfelt album that suffers slightly from pacing and length, which is something not unheard of from Hozier. New listeners can appreciate his unique sound and poetic lyrics, and longtime fans can enjoy seeing and hearing more of Hozier’s Irish heritage on this album as his career develops.