„Wenn du an der Spitze der Charts stehst, heißt es automatisch, dass du beschissen bist. Jeder einzelne Song der Top 10 in den Charts ist derselbe Mist mit unterschiedlichen Stimmen.“
Forever pitched (simplistically, if not condescendingly) as “Ireland’s alt.rock sweetheart”, Tipperary’s Gemma Hayes has flitted around the edges of mainstream acceptance for over 10 years, but for various reasons that killer song (of which she has many) refuses to hit home.
Her fifth album is yet another collection of lovely, woozy tunes, but this time around she is much tougher in thought and deed.
Songs such as Dreamt You Were, To Be your Honey, Dark Moon and Palamino are drenched in sonambulent pop/shoegaze-like textures that mix the dreamy with the spooky, and overall there’s a sense that Hayes has become weary of the perception of her as a “sweetness and light” singer-songwriter.
Such an approach (which comes across as natural and not at all strategic) suits her well.
Hayes should be commended for her approach considering her career had slid into the safe - encompassing the sniffy, pejorative sense of the term. The record doesn’t quite dethrone her debut, Mercury-nominated Night On My Side, as her best collection but she’s mined her craft to uncover her most sensitive and compelling arrangements yet.
More than that, her songs shudder with neurotic self-involvement for the first time. Bones + Longing is obviously made achingly and entirely for herself but, paradoxically, that makes it universal. An album of depth and texture, it repays time and attention; many will want to inhabit its hushed privacy. Hayes escaped music in the past, most notably for two years following her debut, but having deconstructed her sound and pushed its envelope, as in the shimmering instrumental closer, let’s hope she continues exploring her dark side.