Albums: Genna Hayes - Let It Break ****
It's fitting that at the end of a week that saw President Obama put Moneygall on the map, Ballyporeen's most famous export after Ronald Reagan releases her fourth studio album.
After the success of her Mercury-nominated debut, Hayes suffered from what's cruelly known as the sophomore slump, perhaps so much so that it over spilled into her subsequent third album.
Let it Break marks a clean break with the past. Rather than trying to be something she's not, or write a half-baked collection of FM-friendly pop hits, Hayes is completely being herself on this intimate, warm-sounding and very cosy fourth album.
The opening Don't Let Them Cut Your Hair is one of the loveliest and most tender cuts she's ever committed to disc. Keep Running is more typical Gemma at her poppiest, but with a pleasant lo-fi drumbeat and inviting sheen from long-term collaborator Karl Odlum
All I Need sees Hayes depart into fresh waters and the three songs that follow are the best things she's done since Night on My Side.
Paul Noonan chips in a lovely vocal on Fire, and there's an arresting starkness and honesty at play that's never been quite so evident in her work before. Let it Break is an unexpected and delightful triumph.
Burn it: Don't Let Them Cut Your Hair; All I Need; Brittle Winter; Shock to the System; There's Only One Love
Day & Night