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Recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville, former front man of Australian band Men At Work, singer-songwriter Colin Hay’s third solo album Fierce Mercy is awash in dynamics. One component being his vocals, ten of the songs are co-writes with Michael Georgiades (he also contributed to Hay’s previous solo albums American Sunshine, 2009 and Gathering Mercury, 2011). The combinations work a treat.
“Secret Love” possesses a great deal of the dynamic feel previously noted, and with the poignant “A Thousand Million Reasons” (a big song in anyone’s book) immediately following it in the running order a fine balance is obtained. “The Best In Me” chugs along nicely, and with his voice offering character “Frozen Fields of Snow” scores heavily. While with a familiar feel running through it “I’m Going To Get You Stoned” eases, like it was 1967 as Hay recalls the days of psychodelia. He does a really fine job too. “I’m Walking Here” has its moments, and could be a terrific song it wasn’t so cluttered, and I am not saying this because of the additional rap-like vocals that figure.
Sombre to heart wrenching “Two Friends” enjoys a wonderful, full-bodied production, and with a less complex but still involved set of arrangements he closes the main body of work with beautiful ode “She Was The Love Of Mine”. Bonus tracks (Deluxe version) are the vibrant “I’m Inside Outside In” coupled with a song hinting warmer climes “Blue Bay Moon” (warmed in mighty electric guitar and pedal steel the song exudes happy days) and with Hay’s electric guitar matched by Jeff Babko’s B3-organ, piano, wurlitzer piano and harpsichords as he bows out impressively. With music that makes you want to get up and dance, and enjoy the moment.
Musicians taking part include among others, Compass Records founding members Garry West (bass) and Alison Brown (banjo) plus the likes of Audley Freed (guitar), Fred Kron (electric piano, keyboards, string orchestrations), Charlie Paxson (drums), Jim Hoke (piano, B3 organ, pedal steel guitar), San Miguel Perez (Tres, congas, bongos), Yosmel Montejo (bass), Doug Lancio (guitar), Toshi Yanagi (electric guitar) and Georgiades plus Cecilia Noel and Charissa Nielsen on harmony vocals.
After hearing Fierce Mercy I can’t wait to sample one of his live shows. Shamefully, I have to admit to previously not having enjoyed the experience. Enjoy I anticipate being the word when that day comes around. And I imagine enjoy will most likely be a huge understatement!
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