If Colin Hay existed only as a "Where Are They Now?" relic from the '80s, the adulation would still be well deserved. Born in Scotland, raised in Australia and currently living in California, Hay made his name with Men at Work. His old band's cheeky, infectious hits like "Who Can It Be Now?" and the career-defining "Down Under" brought a distinct and playful new-wave flavor to radio and MTV 30 years ago. But Hay never really slowed down, and he regularly tours behind new material with the occasional old hit thrown in. This year's Gathering Mercury showcases Hay's pop savvy in a more relaxed, largely acoustic setting that keeps his strong voice at the forefront. It's the kind of record that makes you wish that Sting would put down the damn lute and start writing smart, heartfelt songs again. Until he does, Hay fills the gap admirably.
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