It’s not often that you stumble across a songwriter whose lyrics both sound and read like poetry. When those lyrics are set to music that balances burning indignation with lilting tenderness, and delivered in a voice imbued with the spiritual passion and yearning of gospel and the blues, you figure you’ve chanced upon something special. And so it is with 23-year-old Andrew Hozier-Byrne, Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Bray, County Wicklow.
On his introductory Take Me To Church EP, the fire-and-brimstone title track – with an incendiary video to accompany it, directed by Brendan Canty and interlacing a storyline in which a homophobic lynch mob hunts down two gay men with footage of demonstrators in Russia protesting about president Putin’s recent anti-gay legislation – made a point that is not only worthwhile but, for Hozier, crucial. “The song was born of this idea that a child, when it is born, is born into sin. So, before you are a woman, or a gay man, just as a person, you are being undermined by the Catholic church as somebody who is sinful, as somebody who should be ashamed of yourself, and be begging for forgiveness. I wanted to use sex as a celebration of life; there are few things as human as the act of making love.”
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