THE DEAL: Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur team up on new band's debut album.
THE GOOD: Packed with harmonies, Fistful of Mercy's debut album is roughly what you'd expect from this latest "supergroup." None of Harper's guitar flash is here, and Harrison has veered away from the electronic work of his band Thenewno2, but the end result is something classic and solid. None of the participants demands the spotlight here — it's the songs themselves that are put in the foreground. The mostly acoustic album starts off slowly with "In Vain or True," "I Don't Want to Waste Your Time" and the title track before getting into a foot-stomping, hand-clapping upbeat tune called "Father's Son." After that, it settles back down into a mellow, peaceful and soothing stretch. The only other track that breaks the mold is the piano-driven "Things Go 'Round."
The Bad: Nothing.
The Verdict: I would have liked a bit more diversity in the songs — "Father's Son" and "Things Go 'Round" were nice diversions from the straight-ahead acoustic singer-songwriter stuff. It may not be one of the year's best albums, but it's going to be at the top of each respective artist's list of best work.