Leaving, by choice or not, the lead singer of any band takes huge risks going solo, will unfortunately always be compared to the band. Although this isn’t Ed Kowalczyk’s first rodeo, having released his first solo album Alive in 2010, his new album The Flood And The Mercy shows a more focused sound for the former Live frontman, and also allows him to spread his spiritual wings.
Opening track “The One” gets the album going with its straightforward rock sound. “Seven”, the album’s first single and a notable standout. A tender acoustic sound starts it off and Kowalczyk’s signature vocals are very precise, and the song really showcasing how far he has come as a songwriter and lyricist. “Angels On Razors” and “Take Me Back” will really hit home with any Live fan with Kowalczyk’s sweeping vocal range.
What really pulls in the focus on The Flood and The Mercy as opposed to the looser Alive is Kowalczyk’s calling on friends Peter Buck of REM and Rachael Yamagata who guest on almost half the songs throughout the album. “All That I Wanted” and “Holy Water Tears” could be on an REM album if you really sit and listen to the basic melody of each song.
Kowalczyk definitely avoided the fearful “sophomore course” with The Flood and The Mercy and has a more mature sound than his last effort. To everyone’s delight, Kowalczyk is able to reign in reminiscent sounds of Live while still staying true to his individualism.