Gemma Hayes - Night On My Side
As its title suggests, Gemma Hayes's debut album isn't the sort of thing you put on first thing in the morning to get you revved up for the day. Instead it's a record of quiet moments and subdued emotions, forever seeking the drama at the heart of everyday life. Contrary to her sweet, pastoral image, the Tipperary-born chanteuse owes more to Beth Orton than Joni Mitchell - and proves it with some complex, layered songs, filled with shimmering guitars and startling electronic effects. Only towards the end does the album falter, lapsing into a kind of self-indulgent folkiness that undoes some of the good work that's gone before. That aside, however, Night On My Side is a joy - brimming with imagination and intimate to the point of intensity. It's a strong contender for Irish album of the year so far.
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