Having to watch the likes of Cathy Davey and Imelda May effortlessly sail to the top of her homeland's charts, Tipperary singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes could have been forgiven for hitting the panic button in an effort to reclaim some of the kudos she'd achieved with her Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut, Night on My Side. However, the diminutive chanteuse appears to be completely unconcerned by the her displacement, as her fourth studio album, and her second through her own label, Let It Break, is perhaps her least commercial offering to date. Produced by regular collaborator David Odlum (the Frames), there are flashes of the My Bloody Valentine influences that defined her first album, such as the epic "There's Only Love," whose space rock guitar hooks and ethereal melodies are allowed to roam free for three minutes before the driving, '80s-tinged power pop beat kicks in, and the radio-friendly melodic pop of sophomore The Roads Don't Love You, as on the infectious, breathy backing vocals and New Order-esque basslines of "Keep Running" (whose original title, "Tokyo," was changed at the last minute due to the 2011 earthquake).
Flashes of invention aside, album four is more of the same from the Irish singer. Daniel Ross 2012 Tipperary native Gemma Hayes has managed to live a charmed professional existence since her Mercury-nominated debut, 2002’s Night on My Side. A comparative big-hitter in Ireland, the rest of the world has been a little cooler to her dusky, earnest indie-pop, basically allowing her creative freedom without having to scrabble for a living or kowtow before a demanding industry.