Colin Hay is best known as lead vocalist for mega-selling 80s Aussie band Men At Work. Following a number of hit singles – ‘Who Can It Be Now’, ‘Down Under’, the band broke up, and Colin set out on his own as a successful singer/songwriter. His work has been featured in several Hollywood films and popular TV series including Scrubs where he made his acting debut.

This year sees the release of his 13th album under his own name, ‘Fierce Mercy’.The album is a rich mix of catchy Americana, love songs and clever hook-driven, witty ruminations on life.

From the almost cajun tinge of opener ‘Come Tumblin’ Down’, to the tender ‘One Thousand Million Reasons’ and from the elegiac ode to his mother; ‘She Was The Love Of My Life’ to the rap inclusive ‘I’m Walkin’ Here’ it is an eclectic mix of styles and lyrical sources.

The central piece of the album, ‘Last To Know’, is a precautionary tale which can be taken on a global or personal level. Whatever catastrophe lies ahead of us, be it global warming or the break-up of a relationship, comes with a warning, and a final chance to rectify the mistakes before disaster happens – the ‘Fierce Mercy’ of the title.

It was the fierce mercy telling me to take it slow or I’d be the last to know.

It is this theme of warnings to be taken heed of and missed opportunities of the past which draws a thread through much of the material on the album.

I dropped a coin into a wishing well but it’s been a long time dry.

Come Tumblin’ Down

All I am and all I’ll ever be. You stole my life away from me for all time and eternity. Broken hearts for evermore.

I’m Walkin’ Here

Hay’s past releases have featured songs almost as a short story, ‘Mr Grogan’ from his last release – ‘Next Year People’ being a case in point. This time round it is ‘Frozen Fields Of Snow’, which relates the story of a war survivor returning to reflect on his life as he visits his childhood home.

Love songs have always been a strong part of any of Hay’s output, managing to condense emotions concisely and tenderly, without ever straying into sentimentality, and they are well represented on ‘Fierce Mercy’.

Now aged 63, Colin’s dulcet tones remain as sweet as ever, and he is backed by a stellar group of players, in what is maybe his best in a very strong history of releases.

Colin’s Live performances are much lauded and Belfast will get a chance to hear these songs and many more live when he plays The Limelight 2 on 31st March 2017 – a show that is heartily recommended, as is this album.