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  • Night on My Side
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Night on My Side Enhanced

20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, April 22, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

With her lazy southern drawl and her beaten and bruised collection of broken-hearted songs, Gemma Hayes should by all rights have grown up in Backwoods, U.S.A., not Tipperary, Ireland. With its campfire laments on life, love, and escape, Hayes's debut--part brooding alt-rock, part hushed acoustic folk--is filled with deadbeat introspection. Yet, Night on My Side plays more like a set of wee-hour diary confessions and captured moments than a cathartic venting session. It's not what she says, but the passion with which she says it that makes her songs so phenomenally poignant. Aided by Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, Hayes doesn't merely tell tales, she conjures full-blooded emotions. On "Back of My Hand," for example, the details of unrequited love are irrelevant--it's the sinking feeling that counts. And when the Radiohead-strength chorus of "Let a Good Thing Go" crashes and the speaker-tearing white noise and guitar overdrive erupt in "Lucky One," they deliver a sense of loss like no words ever could. --Dan Gennoe

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B00008RV0Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,572 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Creamer on June 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Finally the long awaited debut c.d. from Gemma Hayes has arrived. Considering all the hype about her music you could say she was on a bit of a hiding to nothng with this c.d. It's fairly rare that a debut c.d. from a promising young artist lives up to that pressure-and she's done it on this debut c.d. with loads to spare.
She was quite clever in using such a respected and in vogue producer as Mercury Rev man Dave Fridmann. But any comparisons to the music of Mercury Rev are pretty non-existent on this c.d. Her music drifts between angsty blues filled ballads to hard rocking tracks that bear a closer resemblance to a P.J. Harvey then anyone else I can put my finger on. The minute you hear the guitars on track 8 "Tear In My Side" and you'll know exactly what I mean. She also adds some excellent slightly off-kilter harmonies to this track. In fact her record collection must be full of excellent alt. rock favourites. The bass line from track 3 "Back Of My Hand" mimics almost perfectly the sort of sound you'd hear from Peter Hook on New Order songs. Some of her more mellow numbers have a real retro feel of female solo artists from the 60's and 70's. maybe in years to come this c.d. will rank up there with the finest offerings from a Joni of Carole! There is a slight alt/country feel to the sound of tracks like "Over And Over" and on the title track. The other slower tracks have a more acoustic feel to them-yet Fridmann produces enough interesting effects so as to not make this another chilled out overly mellow sound. There is a real cutting edge to all of her songs. Lyrically tracks like the 7 minute "I Wanna Stay" and track 6 "Ran For Miles" are really heartfelt and full of just enough angst so that they don't come across sounding all Alannis like.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wu Ming on April 30, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The debut album from Gemma Hayes is just totally incredible. From the opening track, "Hanging Around," to the closing track, "Evening Sun," Night on My Side is just totally amazing, saturated with artistic creativity.
*Interesting point: the U.S. version is different from the U.K version, and I'm not really sure why - the track listings have been altered, and the U.S. version was supposedly remastered and mixed differently than the U.K. version as well. I don't have a copy of the U.K. version yet, so the only thing I can vouch for is the track listings*
The album seems like it is divided right down the center: the first 6 tracks being the louder, more upbeat songs, and the last 6 track being more quiet and acoustic. The back artwork can attest to this - the first 6 tracks are labeled "DAY" and the last 6 tracks are labeled "NIGHT."
Every single song is fantastic; Gemma and supporting band members are truly talented musicians. I've been listening to the album non-stop, and I love the emotions that she can evoke. From Sarah McLachlan or Heidi Berry-style folk, to My Bloody Valentine or Jesus and Mary Chain inspired shoegaze, Gemma covers a fairly big chunk of musical territory with her own style. Once again, every single song is great, but my personal favorite has to be "Lucky One." This song is just achingly beautiful, and when that fuzzy guitar starts somewhere around the 1 1/2 minute mark, chills are sent through my spine.
Incredible music - listen to it and you'll love it. Go out and support these great musicians! You will not regret it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I decided to take a chance on this album after seeing a feature in Entertainment Weekly that likened her to PJ Harvey, one of my favorite female artists. This comparison is pretty inaccurate, as Gemma Hayes doesn't appear to have PJ's abandon or libido, yet I guess I know what the reviewer was referring to. This girl can rock as hard as the best of them, and also has a sweeter more melancholy side to her music. She also has a fascination with cleverly multi-tracked vocals, which on some tracks might suggest Sheila Chandra's voice experiments and at other times are simply spine-tingling like the track "Tear In My Side", which seems to be a song about a deep trauma of some kind or a major heartache at the very least. But Gemma Hayes is not a gloom and doom merchant, far from it. These songs are as much about desire and passion as they are about loss and uncertainty. Other favorites are "Ran For Miles".."today I ran for miles, just to see what I was made of" and "Let A Good Thing Go" with a huge guitar riff and a bassline that wraps itself around the song like an uncoiling boa constrictor. Then there are more gentle moments towards the end of the album, some of which are not as engaging as the more rocking tracks that open the set, which is why I give it 4 stars instead of 5. Somehow though I get the feeling that the extra star will be redeemed in a very short time. An amazing new talent. Highly recommended. Note: CD is enhanced with a really well shot video for "Let A Good Thing Go". What a hottie!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Graves on January 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I picked this record up by complete chance recently. I was buying a Grandaddy CD in Borders and Gemma Hayes was near it. It looked interesting so I scanned it in the listening station and ended up buying it.
My first impression was to compare it to Shawn Colvin, but with more edge. The album seems to have two distinct halves, the first, heavier half, and the second, more acoustic half. The songs themselves aren't very commercial, and it's somewhat refreshing to just hear intimate songs performed the way the artist intended them to sound, not glossed over with the slick radio treatment that permeate similar offerings.
These songs are unpredictable in the way bringing that off-color friend you have to a formal party might be - you never quite know what's going to happen next. You'll find yourself listening to a nice, acoustic guitar/vocal piece, and then suddenly you'll hear a dissonant cello creep in a half-step higher than the tonic, and then disappear as though it never happened. Very interesting stuff.
"Hanging Around" is a definite highlight, offering the most radio-friendly song and production on the CD. I'm partial to the latter half of the record where the alternate tuning acoustics take over. "My God" is particularly nice.
Ultimately, it's hard to pick the kind of audience this will appeal to. Shawn Colvin is a good reference point, although Hayes is not nearly as commercial. If that seems remotely appealing, then get it, and listen to it a few times. It definitely gets better with each listen, and you'll realize it's a multilayered record, offering more with every time through.
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