Gemma Hayes

The Roads Don't Love You

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After a long bout of writer's block, Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes finally returns with a second album that largely ignores the sound that made her debut so striking. Released in 2003, Night on My Side was a dream pop marvel that recalled Lisa Germano's powerful blend of folk-rock simplicity and art rock sonic experimentation, but perhaps producer Dave Fridmann's fingerprints were too much evident on the My Bloody Valentine-meets-Grandaddy feel of the album. The Roads Don't Love You is co-produced by Hayes and Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M., etc.) and has a much more mainstream, almost slick pop sound, helped along by session pros like Jellyfish's Roger Manning (who also co-wrote first single "Undercover"), guitarists Smokey Hormel (Tom Waits) and Josh Klinghoffer (PJ Harvey), and -- ironically enough -- Lisa Germano herself on violin. Hayes' songs are uniformly strong, particularly the terrific pop/rocker "Happy Sad," but the commercially minded production has little of the spooky, atmospheric charm of her debut.

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