Gemma Hayes. You remember. Shot out of nowhere - well, a launderette - a
few years back to a barrage of critical praise and wonderment. The Irish
songstress has been a bit quiet of late, but with Undercover, second single
from comeback album The Roads Don't Love You, her acoustic goodness is once
again with us for all to see... hear.
Undercover is no real surprise, it does everything you would expect;
downtempo, relaxed acoustica with Hayes' addictive, breathy voice soaring
over the top of it all. There's just one problem: it's too produced. Gemma Hayes
is undoubtedly at her best and most listenable when it's just a lo-fi
recording of her and her guitar, such as on Evening Sun. With her, I don't
want a guitar that sounds perfect, subtle synth backing, or boring, clichéd
pop drumming - her voice alone is enough to carry her music.
So, before she turns into Dido, there
surely needs to be some changes. Throw your guitar down the stairs, Hayes.
Find a beat up microphone, do a bit of singing, bit of guitaring, release
that. Pop princess is not Hayes' style.