Hozier – Unreal Unearth

Despite the album’s overly manufactured pitfalls, Hozier’s work evokes the deeply relatable feeling of searching for something to cling to as we are swept along by the tides of destruction

Album Review by Rho Chung | 14 Aug 2023
  • Hozier – Unreal Unearth
Album title: Unreal Unearth
Artist: Hozier
Label: Island Records
Release date: 18 Aug

As one of the internet’s favourite tall, sad men, Hozier has reached my sphere of consciousness in two ways. His more popular songs reach me the usual way (in an email from my mum) and the rest comes to me through internet channels frequented by asexual millennials – it’s a thing. His new album, Unreal Unearth, promises the same enticing balance of bops and thinkers. As a whole, Unreal Unearth is an eclectic and meandering meditation on love at a time in which our continued existence often feels at odds with the planet’s.

Hozier’s far-reaching vocal range is on full display on Unreal Unearth – as an artist, he possesses that enviable fearlessness when it comes to being earnest. At times, the gospel overtones in the album reach cinematic scope. In places, this orchestral breadth comes off as over-produced, in a departure from the intimate honesty we've come to expect of Hozier. The album is peppered with classical allusions, entwining myth with climate doom and wistfully romantic grief. Who We Are stands out as the driving ballad at the emotional heart of the album, and it signals a musical turning point before the primarily instrumental interlude, Son of Nyx. Taken together, these two tracks transcend the album’s somewhat cloying sheen.

Listen to: First Time, I, Carrion (Icarian), Damage Gets Done, To Someone from a Warm Climate (Uiscefhuaraithe)