Four years after platinum success with the somber “Take Me To Church”, Hozier has sprung out of the woods and back to the charts. The “Nina Cried Power” EP was freed on September 6 after anxious fans got hints of new music through the musican’s Twitter.
The Irishman may only have one full length album to his name, but his past work has charted in his home country and beyond waters. He is planning to take his 2018 release on the road this fall, leading up to his sophomore album debut concluding his North American tour.
Chicago-born gospel diva, Mavis Staples, lends her echoing talents to the title track of the EP, which along with referencing Nina Simone namedrops some of Hozier’s other music heros such as James Brown, Patti Labelle, and Billie Holiday. The song encompasses overwhelming inspiration and hope found through art of many mediums and also contains undertones of social and political activism behind the chilling lyric “Power has been cried by those stronger than me, straight into the face that tells you to rattle your chains”.
Juxtaposing “Nina Cried Power”, “NFWMB” takes a softer yet darker tone that demonstrates Hoizer’s folky falsetto, very reminiscent of the verses in “Work Song” from 2014. The bassline looms threateningly as the phrase “Nothing fucks with my baby” is crooned out continuously, haunting whoever could think about hurting the subject of the song.
“Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” again cleanses the palate of the EP, previewing all possibilities for the upcoming album. The main highlights are a steady rhythmic guitar riff and percussion that fills the ears with campfire memories. While the most upbeat song off the EP and implicating the meaning to be about a physical connection with a partner, “Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” has the most religious allusions by mentions of God, sins, and rosaries. Definitely food for thought.
The final song is “Shrike”—a bittersweet melody about a lost love that remains even after being reborn. Hozier’s more soulful vocals are on display, similar to the title track, however conveying a much quieter and lullabye-esque disposition. It serves as a nice finale to wind the EP down, and it leaves listeners wondering what’s to come.
Hozier’s beloved scenic imagery remains in this EP, with lyrics remarking a bird’s singing and blackthorn trees for audiences to feel closer to nature. The vibes from his work have been compared to the dreamy compositions of Fleetwood Mac and Florence + The Machine, which will hopefully continue to shine through his full second album towards the end of 2018. For now, “Nina Cried Power” has surpassed expectations for Hozier’s highly anticipated resurface.