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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat
Gemma Hayes’ first album ‘Night on my Side’ was a very good album. Although it was a tad too laden with softer more melancholy songs, there were enough good songs to make the follow up worth getting.
So I know own ‘The Roads Don’t Love You’ and by eck is it a corker. It opens with a solid number in ‘Two Step’ and then...
Published on 27 Dec. 2005 by Wicker-king

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Easy on the Ear?
Despite universal critical acclaim, it took me some time to warm to Gemma Hayes's debut disc Night on My Side. At first, it seemed to contain only a few real songs, with the remainder of the tracks so subdued in their production and lyrical content that they initially flew right under my radar. Luckily, the catchy singles ("Back of My Hand", "Let a Good Thing Go")...
Published on 14 Nov. 2005 by Billy Duke


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat, 27 Dec. 2005
By 
Wicker-king (North London, England) - See all my reviews
Gemma Hayes’ first album ‘Night on my Side’ was a very good album. Although it was a tad too laden with softer more melancholy songs, there were enough good songs to make the follow up worth getting.
So I know own ‘The Roads Don’t Love You’ and by eck is it a corker. It opens with a solid number in ‘Two Step’ and then comes the great ‘Another For The Darkness’ and then it cranks up for ‘Happy Sad’ and then you stop noticing the individual tracks and the glorious whole just begins to seep into your ears leaving you feeling really good about yourself.
This is a classic example of a pop / rock singer / songwriter at the top of their game. Sometimes you could swear she is just singing these songs directly to you rather than laying them onto CD for commercial use. The blend of up tempo numbers backed by a top notch rhythm section and smooth melodious ballads is exemplary.
I would recommend ‘Night on my Side’ with little reservation but ‘The Roads…’ is a superbly crafted piece that proves that the age of the MP3 is not leading to the demise of the album. This is a truly great collection and easily slots itself into my list of essential albums.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She pulled it off!, 11 Dec. 2005
Writing an amazing debut album such as "Night On My Side" has its downside! You have to better it with your second! Amazingly though, Hayes has pulled it off! "The Roads Dont Love You" has a somewhat smoother edge in comparison to "NOMS" but is drinched in hartmelting melodies and and songs that will refuse to leave your head. The driving guitars of her debut are a distant memory and unfortunatly The Roads Dont Love You lacks the dynamics, rough guitar and distortion of NOMS, but fortunatly there is alot of quality on this album to deem it a success. Overall "The Roads Dont Love You" is a good buy, although i fear it will always be, undeservingly, in the shadow of "Night On My Side".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews!, 14 April 2010
By 
Gemma Hayes's first album was a surprise hit, a success with critics and a select group of fans, but it never made the impact it deserved to on the British or American charts. Selling well in her home of Ireland, and doing ok in other territories it was a sign of a singer songwriter with a bright future. After relocating to LA, and it would appear mulling over what to do next for some time, she returned with this 3 years later. This album is a departure from some of the folk stylings of her first, but keeps the big melodies and hits. The album covers a variety of themes and moves from bleak to joyful in single bounds, but it retains her wonderful voice and much of her arm thrusting guitar work. While not as critically successful as her first album, this is equally good- less experimental but more fluid there are any number of fantastic songs here proving that she isn't a one hit wonder.

`Two Step' opens the album in familiar territory with Gemma's gorgeous, husky voice playing over soft folk guitars. The chorus bursts open in appealing style and we know that she still has a rock soul burning under her heavy heart as well as an ear for a memorable melody. Lyrically honest as always, she sings of (the central theme of the album) travel, of running away and returning, of the solitude of the road as well as the freedom. The brief middle part shows of her voice at it's yearning best before returning to the chorus.

`Another For The Darkness' begins with tender acoustics and sorrow filled vocals to bitter lyrics. The glorious chorus is only bettered when she plays it live, and with lines like `I don't understand better than most' she is again baring herself but saying she isn't the pinnacle some may take her for. A love song, a song about the bad parts of fame she has experienced it is complex but easily absorbed thanks to the delivery and melody.

`Happy Sad' is one of the first singles from the album, an up-tempo track with commercial stylings, but it doesn't really show off her vocals and lacks the edge of Let A Good Thing Go and Hanging On from her first album. Lyrically she shows again her bleeding heart poet side, but there is always hope and sunshine. Typically a love song about her `sadder boy' being the only one who can bring her out of her malaise, it is pretty good but there are other tracks which could have made better singles.

`Easy On The Eye' is an utterly gorgeous acoustic ballad, sung in the style Gemma does best- as if it is just you and her in the room and is played for both of you alone. It is her barefaced tribute to the one she loves, emotionally charged and with simple, gentle lyrics which appear highly personal. When played live the crowd doesn't make a sound- always the sign of utmost respect and adoration.

`Keep Me Here' begins in top form with a brilliantly performed dark verse, but the chorus doesn't fit for me as well as I thought it would. Nice clanging guitars as always and quite lyrically downbeat, singing of the separation we can feel when we are together and there is an air of despair throughout, although this is shot through with acceptance- she is trying to convince the other party that it will never work.

`Undercover' is the other main single from the album and I much prefer it to Happy Sad. Everything is so melancholy and honest, the verses sets the tone while the chorus is melodically beautiful and emotional. I often imagine this is heavier than it actually is, maybe I'm used to her rocking more when she plays it live. Either way, either style it remains a great song, I like the siren style backing vocals in the chorus, but mostly it's the yearning, tearful vocals which stand out.

`Nothing Can' is a song I often forget about, I'm not certain why as it is very good. The traveling theme continues and the piano/xylophone melody is effective at creating an energetic mood. Gemma is intelligent enough to recognize that while running away may be a solution for a while, the grass is rarely greener on the other side. She sounds as if she is making a stand here, showing her strength, and being decisive. Some of her chorus vocals are heartbreaking as she blends gentle and husky styles, making this one I should listen to more.

`Helen' slows things down greatly, with pianos and strings and her guitar laid to rest. The lyrics look to the past, begin quite placidly, but end on a note of sorrow. Most of the vocals are whispered and it is almost too sweet, but she opts for a pretty anti-melodic lead- this means it is sometimes difficult to remember this song.

`Something In My Way' along with EOTE is my favourite song on the album. Everything about this is Gemma perfection- soaring chorus vocals, a gentle, shoulder surfing verse, sublime melodies, rocking guitars and heart felt lyrics. This should have been a single, and it really deserves to be huge especially when compared to most of the other female led dross in the charts. This rolls along at a high tempo, has typically brutal and dark lyrics- like I've mentioned before this really becomes timeless when she performs it live.

`Horses' has a memorable chorus, but something about the rest of the song doesn't work for me. I don't think there is anything special here, especially when it is surrounded by truly great songs. This is pleasant enough, but doesn't stand out.

`Tomorrow' closes the album in hopeful tones with the refrain `I'll be here tomorrow'- great news for the fans as, sweet jeebus, Gemma Hayes is great. It is a fairly simple song, similar to Horses with soft melodies. It is a gentle ending which leaves us wanting more.

`Pull Me In' is a short hidden track, showing Gemma's penchant for experimentation and noise. A simple lyric backed up with distortion and percussion it isn't anything too remarkable, but still a curiosity.

The album isn't exactly one of two halves, although I prefer the first songs rather than the last few, with Something In My Way preventing the last part from being overly dreary. You could argue that conceptually the first part is about running away, and second about facing things and deciding to return, but most of that is irrelevant. We have another collection of beautiful songs which for the most part will stay in your mind for a long time- I'll say it again, catch her live and experience some of these songs for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gemma's Radio Album, 22 Oct. 2009
By 
Willia - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Roads Don't Love You (Audio CD)
It's the difficult second album, and coupled with that it's creatively compromised by a new record label hunting after hits, but it's still a great listen. The more I've listened to Gemma Hayes, who is currently working on a 4th album, the more I've come to realise how uncomfortable this album is. This is the only album on which she did not work with producer and friend David Odlum, and the only one backed by a major label. Consequently, it's lacking the lo-fi sounds of her other records and instead it sounds more shiny and commercial.

Having said all that, it is still a good album. It is undenaibly tilted towards radio airplay, which I don't think is the attitude Gemma feels most comfortable with, but the songwriting is still superb, both musically and lyrically. It may even be that some people might prefer this album to her others, given its poppy nature, but on this album you don't get so much of the wonderfully raw and emotional qualities that permeate her work with Dave Odlum.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good job!, 3 Nov. 2005
By 
G. Simms (Norfolk, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Although this album is a departure from Gemma Hayes' stunning debut, 'Night on my Side', 'The Roads Don't Love You' is in itself melodious, sensitive, and 'repeat-button' playable.
It's clear Gemma Hayes has taken a distinctively 'pop' route, with many of the songs layered with toe-tapping guitars, ('Another for the Darkness', 'Happy Sad' and 'Keep Me Here' spring immediately to mind). However, Gemma's haunting voice remains as excellent as ever ('Easy on the Eye' and 'Helen' being exceptional in this way): this is what draws you in initially, and the delicate and gripping lyrics keep you there.
Personally, I can't take it out of the CD player. It's thoroughly excellent, and comes highly, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite new album, 6 Nov. 2005
Having bought Gemma Hayes's first album on recommendation and loved it, I was thrilled to see that she had made a second. Often this leads to disappointment as a great first album is so tough to follow. 'The Roads Don't Love You' doesn't disappoint, in fact its better. Nothing Can, Happy sad and Undercover make me tingle..... what a joy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over-produced?, 10 Dec. 2005
By 
N. Hall (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have to agree with every word of squagmire's review here ('Too Easy On The Ear').
Night On My Side is one of my favourite albums by any artist and I have long been in love with Gemma's music. I was hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately, I find that The Roads often lacks the same intimacy and I don't think I will ever connect with it in the same way as the previous album.
It's by no means bad at all, however. On the whole the tracks are invariably catchy, though light and often 'poppy'. Stand-out exceptions for me are the beautiful 'Helen' and the secret-track 'Pull Me In', while 'Easy On The Eye' is every bit as good as anything on Gemma's debut album and would be my pick of this one.
It's a shame that the rest of the album does not follow the same route. Before I'd even heard the album I'd read that Gemma had gone to Las Vegas(?) to work with some producer, and whether it is subsequently my imagination or not, I often find that I can actually hear the producer's influence on these tracks. Almost as if I can hear what Gemma's original theme was, then pick out the bits that have been piled thickly on top in an attempt to make it more commercial. Or maybe I'm just hugely cynical and barking up the wrong tree.
Yesterday I found myself thinking that if Gemma released an accoustic, stripped-down version of this album, it would be fantastic. For me that's where the appeal of Gemma's music is... delicate, intimate, heart-felt, often gentle, sometimes suddenly upbeat, all played out by her wonderful voice.
Fans of Gemma should still give this album a try - which I suspect they will anyway - but I can't recommend it as highly as Night On My Side.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Easy on the Ear?, 14 Nov. 2005
By 
Billy Duke "squagmire" (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite universal critical acclaim, it took me some time to warm to Gemma Hayes's debut disc Night on My Side. At first, it seemed to contain only a few real songs, with the remainder of the tracks so subdued in their production and lyrical content that they initially flew right under my radar. Luckily, the catchy singles ("Back of My Hand", "Let a Good Thing Go") and angsty guitar drones ("Tear in My Side", "Lucky One") kept drawing me back, and the album cohered as a whole around her sublime, addictive vocals, eventually becoming one of my most-listened-to discs.
Her new sophomore effort, The Roads Don't Love You, is by contrast instantly and surprisingly accessible. It's so ear-friendly, it's almost disappointing... It's got some equally catchy tunes and sparkling multi-tracked guitar production throughout, but after only a few listens, I know that my relationship with this album will not be anywhere near as lengthy or musically meaningful as the first.
Don't get me wrong, there is some quality stuff here, but on the whole it lacks the range and depth of her debut. The first three songs are fantastic, but the remainder of the album suffers from a samey, slightly-too-light feel, and drifts by almost before you realize it. I enjoy the expanded use of her falsetto, but this also tends to make the melodies of the latter tracks sound like they were cribbed from the earlier songs. The story goes that this new album was born from a long struggle with writer's block, I just wish I could hear more of that struggle in the final product.
If you can't get enough Gemma Hayes, and were awaiting this release as eagerly as I was, then it's certainly still worth the purchase, but I'd also recommend downloading or collecting her various B-Sides and extra tracks from the different international releases of Night on My Side.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sold out?, 16 Dec. 2005
By 
M. Speller "mattwareherts" (Herts, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I found myself entranced by the debut album as much as the other reviewers here. Gemma Hayes has a special talent and is distinct in the market for numerous reasons. Currently the music industry is saturated with male solo song writers like Tom McRae, Damien Rice, David Gray, James Blunt and Jack Johnson. Looking for the female alternative, there are relatively few choices - and to me this was a major draw to Ms Hayes. I have always been a fan of acts like Joni Mitchell and PJ Harvey, so to have a young artist who is flying a flag is really refreshing.
To cut to the chase, the debut was a very intimate affair, took a while to become familiar with and lasted long in the memory. The tracks stood out from each other and it was pretty easy to have a favourite. The Roads Don't Love You is not a simple album, is not as intimate, and has a similar style running though all the tracks. If I wanted to capitalise on the current spotlight on the aforementioned male singer songwriters, I would produce an album like this. Slightly more mainstream, almost pop in places, it ticks a lot of the right boxes - and this might be the problem.
A lot of people who own and listen to Night On My Side, will feel she has sold out, became too bland and too mainstream. I am hanging on the edge of this group, I have no doubt this will become a huge album next year, but the personal attachment to a relatively unknown act will be lost when everyone starts buying the album. I can see what she was intending to do and I have seen it before. Jack Johnson release three albums before his latest offering, In Between Dreams. Each was fantastic, he had a small fan base, and he was pretty inspirational. When In Between Dreams came out, the small fan base embraced it. But it was a little more mainstream, little more commercially viable, little more radio friendly. Suddenly it started to sell, TV adverts pushed it and now everyone feels they know Jack Johnson. This is my fear with Gemma Hayes, she won't be one of my favourites any more - she will be everyone’s favourite.
So yes, it is good, Happy Sad is brilliant, Easy On The Eye is as intimate as she gets, Keep Me Here is rhythmic and has a strong soaring chorus making it my favourite track - it is just a shame it is not another ground breaking release that snubs trends and doesn't worries about sales, and of course everyone else will know about her now!
*** Like: Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey, Beth Orton and Heidi Berry ***
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4.0 out of 5 stars A grower...., 8 Sept. 2007
By 
Chipstick (Buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
I have had this album for a while and have found myself playing it more and more as time has gone on. It's not a cd which knocks you out on first listen, but more seeps into you.

Her voice is reminiscent of Shelly Poole or even Avril Lavine however her style is quite different and hard to pigeon-hole. 'Easy on the eye' is a beautiful, tender ballad, just guitar and her lovely vocal and is a favourite of mine on the album. However, most of the songs are more rock edged and upbeat in tempo with strong lyrics, edgy arrangements (similar at times to those used by Snow Patrol on their early stuff) and subtle harmonies.

If you like Catherine Feeny, Shelly Poole, Leona Naess you will certainly enjoy this!
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