I know I said “debut” album, but I don’t think any of these gentlemen are strangers to the music scene. The band consists of Ben Harper (who has been pretty successful on his own), Dhani Harrison (yes, that is a son of George Harrison of The Beatles), and Joseph Arthur (who I am less familiar with but Wikipedia says he has been successful with his solo career). Indie super band, much? I think yes.
I was listening to the first track of this album, In Vain Or True, as I was getting the album cover and pulling up some information about the band and I had a fleeting thought that there was a very Beatles-y element to the band. I was immensely pleased with myself when I saw Harrison’s name on the roster. Now I don’t have to feel too bad comparing them to The Beatles!
After a couple songs, though, I see the many differences. Fistful of Mercy makes very mellow music with some good guitar playing. Beyond a tinge of recognition in the voices, there is nothing else remotely Beatles-like in this music.
As I Call You Down is the first track on the album that demands my attention. The lyrics speak to you and the guitar in the backing is rough – it almost makes your spine tingle, but you’re sure to listen.
I can hear Harper’s input in the folksy tune of Father’s Son. Wikipedia tells me the band performed this song with Tom Morello on one of the first episodes of Conan. I wish I remembered this performance. Maybe you should take this opportunity to Youtube it.
Fistful of Mercy is a really beautiful number that made me stop what I was doing just to focus on this track. Favorite song.
Things Go ‘Round changes things up and sounds like something you might hear in the 70s – you know, with really crappy video reels and oddly colored pant suits going on. It’s an interesting change of events in the songs, though. The stark contrast of the music and the vocals make it a whirly roller coaster ride for my ears.
I don’t usually listen to bands like Fistful of Mercy on a daily basis when I’m not writing this blog. This is a pretty solid album, and I’d be interested to see what else they put out. But I probably won’t be listening to this on the regular.
Fistful of Mercy (track 5)
Things Go ‘Round (track 8)
As I Call You Down (track 3)
Fistful of Mercy: As I Call You Down