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Colin Hay: Fierce Mercy

Colin Hay
Fierce Mercy
(Compass Records)

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I’m afraid that Colin Hay has done it yet again. From the pain of losing his father, he explored on Gathering Mercury, his rumination on the randomness of life on Next Year People, to this collection of hopeful tunes, Fierce Mercy, the ex-Men At Work frontman seems to keep mining his ever fruitful well of wonderful songsmithing. Opening with the bouncy country vibe (complete with accordion and slide) of “Come Tumblin’ Down,” from the start here one realizes Hay is in fine commercial form and his voice has never sounded better. “Secret Love,” a sweet piano ballad love song, follows as does “Frozen Fields of Snow,” a soft concoction of acoustic and snare where Hay uses both his low and high registers. A piano occasionally floats in just perfectly. “I’m Walking Here” has horns and rap, a fine reggae flicker, and the acoustic pluck of “She Was the Love Of Mine” is another one of those Hay moments where he easily brings you to tears. I think it is his laid-back acoustic touch, as well as how clearly honest his voice always sounds (a nice mournful horn solo also adds to the feel), plus with lyrics like, “Now I carry you, as you carried me,” how can you not be sliced wide open? If you can pick yourself up off the floor after that last one, you get hit with the big, poppy, sardonic “I’m Inside Outside In,” the most countrified tune here. Fierce Mercy is fiercely good stuff indeed.

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