Kevin Thomas and his band release debut record A New Heart with a refreshingly positive outlook on life that seeps into the music at every level.
Positivity can be a rare thing in the world, today. With a fast-paced, social media-driven society, people seem to be more focussed on the negative aspects of life, and find it difficult to look on the positive side of things; this isn’t helped with constant fake-news and stories of sadness and pain being constantly thrown your way whenever you log-on to your laptop or look at your mobile device. That’s why Kevin Thomas Band’s record A New Heart is such a breath of fresh air. In one fell swoop, Kevin’s rosy outlook on life brushes away any gloom throughout the albums 10 tracks, reminding the listener of all the good things this world has to offer.
The Big Picture gently kicks in with guitar against a light Hammond organ with Kevin Thomas immediately showing us his positive side against confident and hopeful lyrics: “I’m headstrong, picking up the puzzle pieces to build a home”. The music is light an airy as it builds to an uplifting chorus and finishes with a reggae/ska vibe to make it even sunnier. It’s all very happy and encouraging and sets the precedent for the entire album.
Comfort Zone switches to a jazz rock-inspired piece with a walking bass line – think Ben Folds Five in high (or higher) spirits as Thomas asks us to get out of our comfort zone and try new things. Money Tree cranks up the indie rock sound with a dusty guitar that’s blown away by one of the strongest choruses on the record, whereas Reinvent Yourself takes on a more 80s rock-opera sound as we’re asked to take a look at ourselves and not be scared to make changes. Thomas has an unwavering sense of the positive which becomes more addictive as the record progresses – think of him as a musical version of Chris Traeger from TV Show Parks and Recreation.
High On Chocolate is as fun as the title sounds with a funk rock beat guiding the track forwards amongst distinctive melodies and clean, funky guitars. It’s let down a little by a routine chorus and lyrics straying into the cliche, but the overall production on the track is some of the record’s best work.
Ending with The Best Luck Around where the bass is given freedom to divulge in some prominent riffs with Kevin Thomas’s optimism unwavering all the way to the album’s conclusion. It’s a lovely ending that allows the band to jam their way to the finish line with an impressive piano section taking centre stage before being usurped by the ongoing melody.
A New Heart may be a little cheesy in areas, but it’s unwavering, cheerful and positive attitude is a breath of fresh air in this sometimes cynical world. Thomas manages to produce great melodies to back up his upbeat messages, and although there are a few areas for improvement, it’s still a delight to listen to.
By Jamie Parmenter