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Album Review: Kevin Thomas Band ‘A New Heart’

Kevin Thomas’s acoustic rock debut is an interesting listen all the way through.

Kevin Ashley

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Today, we are starting off with Kevin Thomas Band’s A New Heart. Just by looking at the artwork, I suspect it’s progressive rock, but we’ll see what it really is when I start listening.

The Kevin Thomas Band consists mainly of San Diego-based frontman Kevin Thomas (vocals, guitar, songwriter), who has worked on the production of multiple albums and singles. Guest instrumentalists rotate in and out, providing an unending stream of new talent for Thomas to try out. The album, A New Heart, is Thomas’s solo debut, and is described as “not only the culmination of my own dramatic personal transformation, but also a response to the discordant echoes from our society”. It was released recently on March 7th, 2019. Let’s get on to listening.

The opener, “The Big Picture”, begins with some acoustic strumming, but there’s a lot instrumental of elements. Keyboards, multiple percussion types, electric guitar, harmonized vocals, there is a real proggy vibe to this. It reminds me of the acoustic part of Porcupine Tree’s Blackest Eyes. There’s a nice guitar solo at 2:05, and the vocals are of the off-beat prog type as well. Good so far.

“Comfort Zone” opens similarly, but there’s a prominent bass guitar featured. It’s more of the upbeat acoustic rock seen in “The Big Picture”, but is more straightforward this time, and not as proggy. Still decent, if a little simplistic.

“Time” opens with a nice funky, strong bass sound, and some background organ keys. The prog rock vibe is back, which I hope stays for the rest of the album. I like how up front the keys are in this one, this is on the same level as “The Big Picture”.

Next is “Money Tree”, which opens again with the acoustic strumming. The organ is there again, which is welcome. No prog in this one, and a bit poppy with the “do do, do do, dododododo” vocalizations, but still decent.

“Let Your Arrow Fly” is another of the straightforward acoustic rock songs, with a guitar solo around 1:40. This one isn’t as simple as “Comfort Zone”, which is nice. Solid again.

“Reinvent Yourself” opens with a lot more energy this time, with the rapid drum hits. The electric guitar is in full force alongside the acoustic guitar, making this the first fully rock song on the album.

The prog vibe returns again in “Mirror Mirror”, and I like how Thomas sings the chorus combined with the guitars. Around 2:07, there’s a piano solo, which is a first for the album. This one is among my favorites.

“High on Chocolate” has very silly lyrics, but leans heavily on the groovy side musically. The organ is present once again, making this a drug (chocolate, in this case)-fueled 60’s song. So far, there isn’t any bad songs on the album.

“On My Way Out” is a folky ballad, featuring a violin and electric guitar, and is up near the top again in terms of favorites. Musically, it’s pretty different from the rest of the songs, but that’s what makes it good.

The final track, “The Best Luck Around” is similar to “Comfort Zone” in it’s simplicity and positive atmosphere. It’s decent’, but like “Comfort” it’s not my favorite.

The Kevin Thomas Band’s A New Heart is a solid acoustic rock release. The progressive rock vibe on several songs, plus the varied instrumentation, makes it an interesting listen from start to finish. Two songs ride close to the simple line, but it’s a small quibble that doesn’t take away from the album as a whole.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Kevin is a graduate from Central Washington University, where he was awarded a Bachelors degree in Professional and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Silverdale, Washington, where he explores new food and drink, goes to concerts, and works on personal projects.

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