Fistful of Mercy - As ICall You Down
Wed 24th Nov, 2010 in Music Reviews
Fistful Of Mercy may seem like yet another supergroup in the endless conga line of the former but they set themselves apart by writing music that is equally understated and charming. The story goes that the three musicians Ben Harper, singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur and Dhani Harrison (son of the late George Harrison ) began a casual friendship in a skate park and this turned into the musical project, As I Call You Down.
Harrison likened the collaboration with his father’s involvement in The Traveling Wilburys but in reality the sound is far more reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash mixed with a hint of The Beatles. These two acts are particularly noticeable in the opener, In Vain Or True where light and airy guitar strums are combined with plenty of harmonies and a psychedelic hue inspired by Harrison Sr.
Father’s Son is perhaps where the album peaks with an all-out country hoedown and Harper playing slide guitar in a barn. Harrison meanwhile, sings about the devil and lessons learned from his pappy while sitting on a haystack. Elsewhere the songs are mainly centred around pleasant folk rock and mellow blues best served while watching the sunset. 30 Bones is an epic instrumental and perfect accompaniment to the latter as it’s full of glistening light and music from a José González songbook (both solo and with Junip).
As I Call You Down features nine understated acoustic numbers that soothe like a gentle hum and are both exquisite and sincere. There is some repetitiveness in the lyrics but these add a comforting softness to the slow-burning charm of the whole affair with its glowing roots and timeless vibe. In short, a well-crafted slice of romance and whimsy that is equally heartfelt and likeable.