THIRSTY MERC – SHIFTING GEARS
Release Date: 4th September 2015
℗ 2015 MGM Distribution
- Understanding Love
- The Good Life
- Touch And Go
- Sweet Talker
- I Fall In Love
- Mirror To Your Heart
- The Grind
- That’s Right Shoogie
- I’m Crazy
- Every Now And Then
- Timeless Beauty
I must admit from the outset that I am an avid admirer of Thirsty Merc and consider their 2004 debut album one of the very finest works in Australian music history. Nevertheless I will make every effort to keep an objective mindset in review of this most aptly titled collection.
Our opener Understanding Love immediately provides listeners a beautiful Australian cerebral backdrop to accompany, but brilliantly axiomatic of their dedication to progressive song writing and mastery of their craft, doubtless the product of their now significant experience as a group. This track is an emotionally and remarkably honest reflection of feeling. Whether applied to the life of the professional musician or the feelings solely understood by the subsequent generations affected by the proverbial broken home. A truly beautiful track to open and a masterstroke of production as it lures listeners to repeat the track at albums end. Of course a nuance of any Thirsty Merc album is that once back at the first track, you simply cannot stop there.
Track two provides us with a fresh, yet familiar dose of that unique Thirsty Merc ‘summer celebration’ type upbeat sound to satisfy the hunger of devotees waiting for the release of this work. Upbeat tempos, lyrical excellence and pure Thirsty Merc delivery. ‘How you doin’?’ Well, enjoying The Good Life to the same level of excited satisfaction as receiving a saucy suggestive glance from a young Felicity Kendal herself, despite the BBC program not being the subject of this work. A sensational track full of memorable harmony and ‘cruisey’ riffs, sure to please and put a spring in your step. Yep, ‘bigger than Ben Hur’.
Touch And Go provides further credence to the accuracy of the album title with a moving ballad, but not lacking in the might and majesty of sound thirsty Merc are capable of producing.
Sweet Talker is an instant classic of Australian contemporary rock and so very signature of the bands remarkable song writing and powerfully punchy performing capacity. Yet another shining example of how this magnificnent group move from classic rock riff and lyric to the catchy melodies and feel that remains with you for hours after. I challenge anyone to listen to this track just once, sans desire to put the digital needle back to track beginning. Then we progress into I Fall in Love which is reminiscent of the debut album and a track that takes me straight back to my first exposure to Thirsty Merc.
Mirror To Your Heart placed mid album and immediately before the sensationally uplifting The Grind is, again a fantastic arrangement, taking us from melancholic reflection to celebratory hope and hearth of heart. The latter of the two being a sensational blending of classic Thirsty Merc and something more resembling early Chicago quality lightly seasoned with Billy Joel.
That’s Right Shoogie kicks off like a Supertamp classic but quickly takes a fun frolicking romp through the landscape of Thirsty Merc funville. Magnificent work and catchier than an ice addiction.
Guitar work of this ilk, namely sensational magnitude and underrated quality, I have not heard since Bob Mould with Sugar brought us Copper Blue. Combined tremendous accompaniment and lyrical deliver stamp the familiar qualities Thirsty Merc so utterly brilliantly.
Every Now And Then together at album finale with Timeless Beauty bring timely reminder that Thirsty Merc are thirsty indeed. Their collective experience and brilliance driving their journey into refreshingly new ground but with commanding excellence. Shifting Gears is, at least to me, the most significant step in the groups journey since the self-titled debut. Diamond stud curtains should part, the skies should rain sweet meats and fortune upon Thirsty Merc and new doors of opportunity should accompany the offers of soundtrack selection from this album. A truly sensational blending of their signature sound together with their seemingly, borderless musical prowess.