Gemma Hayes The Hollow of Morning

Somehow, since her Mercury Prize-nominated 2003 debut, Night On My Side, Irish chanteuse Gemma Hayes has been virtually invisible. A sophomore effort, The Roads Don’t Love You, squeaked out to little fanfare in the UK, and from out of nowhere it seems comes her third album. A recent trip through North America with My Bloody Valentine should help but fans of the shoegaze legends should take note that Kevin Shields is not only a friend and supporter but also a contributor to The Hollow of Morning. It’s just one song — "In Over My Head” — and it’s hardly recognizable but Hayes certainly references her fellow Irishman’s signature of soft, multi-layered production. Overall, the singer-songwriter is aligned more with a talent like Sarah Harmer, whom she resembles vocally, though her acoustic guitar demands a lot more overdriving fuzz to smash the typical boring routine. As pleasant as it is, The Hollow of Morning doesn’t quite match the more interesting arrangements and obvious hooks of Night On My Side. Maybe I’m way off but without the backing of the label she once had in EMI, it seems the pressure/support there may have been to deliver such criteria is missing. There’s a reason why her debut was so heavily praised and if she can find that support again, maybe she could increase the visibility of her career significantly. (Second Motion)