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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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unheard hozier ep cover

Review: Hozier’s ‘Unheard’ EP is short but definitely sweet

The Irish singer-songwriter makes the most of fourteen minutes

Hozier is on a roll. 

After waiting four years for the Irish singer-songwriter’s latest album “Unreal Unearth,” which arrived last summer, fans received a pleasant surprise this month with the release of “Unheard.”

An extended play consisting of four tracks that didn’t quite make “Unreal Unearth,” this project is easy to digest in one sitting. Hozier manages to convey a wide range of poignant emotions in just under 14 minutes. 

Everything you love about the “Take Me to Church” singer is present in this project and fans will get plenty of Hozier’s trademark wailing baritone vocals and carefully crafted lyricism. 

With less of the stomp-and-holler that characterized his earlier work, “Unheard” brings bits of twangy folk and sweeping alt-rock ballads reminiscent of “Wasteland, Baby” and “Unreal Unearth.” Think of it more as a celebration of all things Hozier, rather than a complete package.

The extended play starts incredibly strong with the opening track “Too Sweet,” a trademark Hozier love ballad with heaps of peppy guitar and suggestive wordplay that prompts its listener to replay it over and over again. 

There’s an abrupt shift in tone from there to “Wildflower and Barley,” a lower-key, folky song featuring Canadian singer-songwriter and activist Allison Russell. While their voices complement each other against the twangy, quaint melody, it’s not quite as moving as last year’s “Damage Gets Done” with Brandi Carlile.

Empire Now” is a bombastic throwback to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” The blues and baritone atmosphere makes the shortest track on the extended play an unmissable earworm.

But it is “Fare Well” that serves as an emotional end to the project and is especially fitting considering the amount of time that comes between Hozier projects. 

Pastoral and wistful, this track feels like it would be a fitting end to “Unreal Unearth,” and is a thank you from Hozier to everyone who listened to this short but sweet collection of unreleased songs.

While it’s not as polished or consistent as a full release, “Unheard” is a must for any Hozier fan, and well worth the time of any indie folk or singer-songwriter enthusiasts. You won’t want to get these nearly 14 minutes back.

“Unheard” is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

This article was edited by Marina Zaczkiewicz, Sara Winick and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Charlie Mennuti and Julia Patton.

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