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Gathering Mercury

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Album Review

By this, his 11th solo album, Colin Hay’s records are as comfortable as a pair of old shoes that have held up for so many years you’ve forgotten when you purchased them. Naturally, that speaks to the cozy comfort of the fit, but it also speaks to the craft: Hay may not tread new ground but his compositions are so simple and sturdily constructed they’re easy to take for granted. That’s especially true on Gathering Mercury, which unfolds at an unhurried pace, the tempos never rushing, the dynamics never getting heated. Although it’s a full production with electric guitars, pianos, backing voices, and drums, it leaves the impression of an intimate acoustic performance, partially because the songs are so casually lyrical in their description of the everyday. Hay doesn’t make the kind of records that call attention to themselves — they’re reflections of his offhand charm — but a close listen to Gathering Mercury does reveal that there’s a lot of thought behind what seems so easy.

Customer Reviews

Stellar Release

After listening to Colin Hay’s tenth solo album Gathering Mercury, it’s hard to decide which is a prettier instrument…his voice or his guitar? Colin’s voice is warm and smoky but yet worn in just right to give the notes traction. Touches of his subtle vibrato at the end of his phrasing are not only reminiscent of past days but a characteristic of his vocal DNA that is uniquely his.

The album begins with “Send Somebody” which has a melody that will pull you close on the first acoustic notes from his guitar. The chorus then expands to allow Colin’s voice to soar to higher notes that you will want to hear him sing over and over again. A good songwriter can tell a story that travels from their music through the stereo to the listener and guides one to reflect on their own memories and visions. On “Family Man” and “Dear Father” this songwriter makes that connection for us. The title track “Gathering Mercury” and “Half a Million Angels” are other melodies that will stick with you all day until you’re back home and able to plug in your headphones for a closer listen.

Colin Hay is a songwriter and we are the audience. Be thankful Colin has answered my original question. Both his voice and guitar share equal billing, so there is no need for us to decide which the prettier instrument is.

Solid Effort, But Something Seems "Flat"

Once again, Colin Hay shows us why he is a good and solid musician and songwriter. In several tracks the lyrics are as profound and introspective as anything the former Men At Work frontman has written. However, something seems a little "forced" and flat here.

Highlights on the recording include "A Simple Song", a very subtle little ditty with an extremely simple arrangement of chords with a very simple set of lyrics. It seems to play on itself and succeeds. Other highlights include the first track "Send Somebody", a jaunty introspection most likely a tell on the man's life and experiences.

"Where the Sky is Blue" follows along the lines of "Oh California" in it expresses the longing for the old, with the reality of the now. "Goodnight Romeo" is a wistful tale of age and mellowing.

The rest of the songs just seem forced or like we have heard it from Hay before. This is not saying they are bad, just that when dealing with a lyricist like Hay, you come to expect a bit more.

Still, it is a good recording, just not up to some of his other works.

Another great album

Far From Home is my favorite track - reminds me of a great Men At Work song or something from my favorite Colin album "Man @ Work"


Born: June 29, 1953 in Kilwinning, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As the singer, guitarist, and main songwriter of Australia's Men at Work, Colin Hay was responsible for penning several of the quirkiest pop hits of the early '80s. Although he and his former band will forever be associated with "the land down under," Hay originally hailed from Scotland, where he was born in the town of Kilwinning on June 29, 1953. Hay relocated to Australia in 1967, by which time he had begun playing guitar and singing. Although the country is probably best known for spawning hard...
Full Bio
Gathering Mercury, Colin Hay
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