on 26 November 2011
Amidst a slew of vocal imitators and poorly written saccharine sweet female artists with nothing whatsoever to say Gemma hayes stands head and shoulders above the by and large mediocre crowd. At her best she is fit to rub shoulders with the likes of Aimee Mann and Shawn Colvyn to name a few of those rare female writers who actually write songs rather than pen pointless pop jingles. While her second album is still her best and most consistent effort this runs it a close second. Here we have more diversity than on any previous album save perhaps Night on my side, which while having several highlights was a little uneven. Stand out tracks are Keep Running, Shock to my system, and the best song on the album Ruin. A better effort than Hollow of the Morning and songs which deserve more airplay, and an artist who deserves more publicity. Maybe if she wore a meat dress and stuck a phone on her head people would take more notice; what a stupid world we live in.
on 18 July 2011
There is just something about Gemma Hayes ... her music grabs your heart. The songs on this album capture and communicate emotions on a visceral level unlike almost anyone else I can think of. By way of comparison, I bought the latest Nerina Pallot cd at the same time as this and it's very nice indeed but at no point does it make the hairs on the back of your neck or arm stand up - unlike this latest from GH.
I'm not going to go through the album track by track but I will mention certain standouts:
Keep Running - gorgeous breezy innocent(?) actually reminds me a little "Hanging Around" on her debut but without the crunching electric guitars.
Brittle Winter - incredibly atmospheric and powerful, an almost Shakespearian sense of despair and loss.
Shock To My System - if Gemma was on a major label this would be a single and being played all over the radios because it's melodicly accessible and is full of that powerful sense of wonder we all feel when we first fall in love.
There's Only Love - Oh my god! Words fail me (nearly) .... one of the things I love about Gemma is the way she incorporates quite traditional Irish folky harmonies and instrumentation into her songs but it still feels of the moment. The song is so lyrically simple but it builds from something slow and quiet to a blissed out crescendo. It captures perfectly the drug-like effect of being in love.
As always with her music is feels powerfully autobiographical and thankfully it seems like she's in a pretty good place at the moment. Just wish she would come and play in the UK a bit more!!!