By Taylor Linzinmeir, Contributor
Key Tracks: “Nina Cried Power”, “NFWMB”
After years of anticipation, Hozier has gracefully walked out of the shadows and bestowed new music upon the world. After the Irish musician’s rise to U.S. stardom in 2014 following his debut single “Take Me to Church”, a rigorous touring schedule quickly burnt out the artist. Seeking solitude, Hozier escaped to the countryside in 2016. From this escape, Nina Cried Power was born.
Comprised of only 4 songs, the EP is just a small taste of what can be expected from the artist in his upcoming full-length album scheduled to release in 2019, and if you are looking for the same Hozier you once knew and loved, you won’t be disappointed. Although every track on the EP comes alive with its own heart and soul, they are all still deeply rooted in the classic folk-rock and blues groove that has become synonymous with the artist.
The EP takes the listeners on a journey of some of humanity’s most basic of emotions, switching back and forth from mellow to upbeat rhythms, from sorrowful to optimistic themes. The opening title track features R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples, who is also said to be a major inspiration for the album. The track leads with powerful percussion that demands attention and is uplifted further by the angelic singers that radiate in the background. The hypnotically sweet vocals in “NFWMB” seduce and intoxicate listeners with the invincibility and power one feels when deeply in love. The sound of fingers snapping and a snazzy guitar riff at the beginning of “Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” then draws listeners out of their hypnosis, and gains momentum until it’s almost a sin against the song not to snap along with it. Finally, we are taken somewhere more pure in “Shrike”. In this track, Hozier switches to delicate instrumental beautifully combined with vocals, singing of the anguish of a lost love.
Some fans may be disappointed by how similar the overall sound of the EP is with Hozier’s previously produced music. Specifically, the songs “NFWMB” and “Shrike” both have similar vibes to tracks on Hozier’s self-titled album like “It will Come Back” and “Like Real People Do”. That being said, what he lacks in stylistic variation he promises to make up for in subject matter in the upcoming album. The overall theme of the album hinted at in the title track preaches that it isn’t enough to simply be outraged about the injustices that you see in the world, what really matters is going out and doing something about them. Brimming with raw emotion, Nina Cried Power is said to be a “thank you note to the spirit of protest.”