2019 has been an interesting year for music so far. Internationally The Specials hit the number one spot with their first release in almost two decades. Whilst at home, Hozier has just released his first album of new material in four years. In between all this, new grass roots talent emerges, and few capture that youthful hunger better than Laois-based artist Host. Her burgeoning talent shines through on her debut EP, Adolescent Content.
Host finds inspiration in the past, channelling electro-pop and alternative scenes of the 80s, with nostalgic and stylish conviction. Taking the best elements of a genre and pushing forward with them, she moulds an easily accessible sound. Though with a sprinkle of rebellious punk for authenticity. This is an artist with depth, delicately balancing between the realms of artistic integrity and commercial appeal.
However, the EP is the hardest format to pull-off. Shorter than the album, yet still trying to express all facets of an artist in a short space of time. Here, Host manages to faithfully deliver that with ease. So much so that the listener becomes haunted and addicted at the same time. Pushing play after the final beat becomes a necessity of pleasure, more than simply an act to fill the silence.
Opening with the 2018 single release ‘Goodbye’, both the sound and intention of Host is nailed to the flag-post early on. This has crossover appeal, to fans who witnessed the genre emerge first time round and those just discovering it now. ‘Goodbye’ channels pure synth-pop, lashings of the German-born genre delivered with the sweetest of lyrics. Teeming with abstract images and hypnotic beats, this industrial number is built on the simplest of narratives, the break-up song.
With ‘B4me’, a more restrained vocal line augments waves of industrial noise, poignant and beautiful. The song at times mimics the movements of a wounded beast. This jumps into the transcendent pace of the latest single released by Host, ‘Taste Of Your Love’. There is a maturity and confidence developing between ‘Goodbye’ and this track. The style becomes more comfortable and deliciously delivered, still abstract to an extent, with refined pop sensibilities.
The EP concludes with its finest moment, ‘Forgetting Me’. Lovelorn and lost in a soundscape of computer constructed waves, it flows like the ocean from the speakers. The track is a passion-fuelled experiment, dramatically executed. A heart wrenching, phased vocal lines brings eerie gracefulness to proceedings.
Host is definitely an artist to watch. Her full-length debut will be the definitive statement of her musical intent, but for now, Adolescent Content signals a bright future.