Journey through hell with Hozier’s new EP

Zoe Leone, Associate Arts & Life Editor

For many, March 17 is notable for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. For others, they celebrate the Irish with a different holiday of note: Hozier’s birthday. This year, the artist’s special day brought along the release of the “Eat Your Young” EP.

The drop was his first multi-track release since his 2019 album, “Wasteland, Baby!” The EP features three songs: “Eat Your Young,” “All Things End,” and “Through Me (The Flood).” The first two tracks are inspired by Dante’s “Inferno” and the nine circles of Hell, a theme that will be explored throughout his upcoming album, “Unearth Unreal,” according to an interview Hozier did with People magazine.

The titular song is a sultry track that features Hozier’s lilting falsetto singing about the sin of gluttony. The artist describes the song as being told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator who cares about nothing other than taking what they can with no expenses barred.

While the lyrics, such as “Come and get some/Skinnin’ the children for a war drum/Puttin’ food on the table selling bombs and guns/It’s quicker and easier to eat your young,” pack a beautiful punch, the stand-out of the song is undoubtedly the infectious instrumentals that back Hozier’s vocals. The heavy drumbeat, melodic piano and string accompaniment that have become staples in the artist’s music are sure to stick in your head for days after listening.

“All Things End” is a mellow, piano-heavy track that mixes the heartache of a break-up with the sinful act of heresy. The song ends with a full-choir joining in with a crooning Hozier, as he analyzes the nature of relationships. While he describes the phrase as a heretical statement, “All Things End” honors the artist’s belief that the impending end of things should never keep anyone from trying to begin again. While the song is beautiful and a strong release, it’s undeniably the most forgettable of the three.

The final song of the EP, “Through Me (The Flood)” draws inspirations much closer to real life, as opposed to the themes of mythology that are heard through much of Hozier’s music. He wrote the track in the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic as death tolls began to rise rapidly and much of the state of the world was left unknown. The reflection of loss and unity amongst communities is reflected throughout the song.

Hozier’s voice shines in “Through Me (The Flood),” as an instrument-heavy arrangement and another choir gives the song a highly dynamic quality. The track is reminiscent of “Nina Cried Power,” a song from “Wasteland, Baby!” that features the legendary Mavis Staples and encompasses the compassionate, full musical sound that is so unique to Hozier in the era of computer-generated songs created solely to blow up on TikTok.

The song is a fantastic ending and only serves to solidify that Hozier, while ever-evolving, knows the sound that put him on the map. The release of the EP also brought along a tour announcement, the artist’s first since 2019.

Hozier also took the joint new music, birthday and St. Patrick’s Day celebration to the streets of New York City when he surprised an audience at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar on March 17. Dressed casually in a beanie and brandishing a flute, the artist played a variety of traditional Irish music for pub-goers.

While “Unreal Unearth” has no official release date, Hozier’s increased social media presence and new music lends hope that the predicted 2023 arrival will soon come to fruition. In the meantime, the three new tracks will fill the Hozier-shaped hole that had been left in many hearts.