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Gemma Hayes | 4:35am (Source)
In this horrible age of decay and abuse it's nice to still have your breath and heart stop when a CD is played for the first time. That's exactly what happened when I hit start for this record. Just a well picked guitar and a fragile voice, but strong enough to stop me in my tracks. The opener Gotta Low is so bare you want to wrap it in your arms for modesty. Production master Dave Fridmann must have had an easy job on his one co/production task with only a brief keyboard part to intrude. It doesn't need any more, it's devastatingly beautiful. Gemma's first recorded work is all about early morning/late night bliss and with an album in the pipeline that'll feature a bigger band sound she's decided to soften us up with this low-key, self produced intro. Making Waves has more going on, musically, but her clear voice isn't threatened. Think Hoffman/Lorson/Griffith/Colvin and you're in the ballpark, but comparisons are useless, she's Hayes. Evening Sun is a real killer. Squeaking fingers on the frets and a drowsy voice imploring you to "stay a little longer, please... because I need you bad, that I could kill." You'll be powerless too after that. The title track conjures up the wee small hours with its floaty, multi-tracked vocals and a mysterious voice drifting in like an errant radio station. Rounding up with a piano track called Piano Song completes the nocturnal atmosphere and makes you itch for the day when her album arrives. A new talent dawns and it won't be long before more people wake up to that, but for now you'll have to make do with these five tracks and the repeat button on your CD machine. Listen and sigh.

Laurence Arnold
November 2001