Fierce Mercy Colin Hay Compass/Sony Anyone who has seen the documentary Waiting for My Real Life, which covers Colin Hay’s extraordinary career from Western Australia and worldwide fame with Men at Work to comparative anonymity as a soloist and then his resurgence as a songsmith in the US, will know that he treats vicissitudes of fortune with philosophical equanimity. Nevertheless, there’s no doubting that with Fierce Mercy — his most commercial release since the heady days of Down Under — the expat Scot has given himself every chance of achieving a belated return to the charts. Recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville, Hay’s 13th solo album is a slick production saturated with strings, synths, electric guitar and more hooks than you’d find in an angler’s hat. The songs, 10 of them collaborations with regular associate Michael Georgiades, are reflections on love, life and death, delivered in the artist’s distinctive timbre with sincerity and dry wit. Songs such as She was the Love of Mine, a tender elegy for Hay’s mother, and the equally poignant Two Friends, alluding to other recent losses, tug at the heartstrings, the former assisted by muted trumpet. Ascending lines and a mid-track key change give impetus to Secret Love, a passionate power ballad. With tinkling piano and violins and references to a summer in Paris, A Thousand Million Reasons is unselfconsciously sentimental: “I woke up here in heaven, floating round the sun.” Zydeco-styled accordion and pedal steel lend country ambience respectively to Come Tumblin’ Down and Blue Bay Moon; there’s a Cuban tres guitar Latin flavouring to The Best in Me.