Colin Hay may be best known as the lead singer for Men At Work, the platinum selling Australian band that topped worldwide charts in the 80s with anthems like “Down Under,” “Overkill,” and “Who Can It Be Now?” Hay’s justifiably proud of his place in pop history, but since moving to Los Angeles in 1989, he’s made 11 solo albums and is confident that Gathering Mercury is the best of the lot.

“These are some of the strongest songs I’ve ever written,” Hay says from his home studio in the hills of Topanga Canyon. “The loss of my father last year brought an unavoidable emotional contingent to writing and recording. I don’t have a definitive belief in an afterlife, but I do feel like I had his help when I was working on this album, especially alone late at night, in the studio.”

“Far From Home” has the reggae lilt of a contemporary Men At Work tune. Jeff Babko’s Hammond B3, Cook’s inspired drum part, and Hay’s rhythm guitar add to the melody’s hypnotic feel. “I don’t know if it’s reggae as such,” Hay says. “But when I play electric guitar, the rhythm I feel is on the offbeat. It’s my natural default.”

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