Kevin Thomas Band’s A New Heart is both euphoric and cathartic. Originally from the East Coast, Thomas now calls San Diego home. He paints a perfect sound landscape that shows rockier roots (that gritty New Jersey rock base) that evolves into the Americana, beach pop rock waves tightly. A sound comparable to The Dave Matthews Band, Thomas’s arsenal of hits on A New Heart bleeds uniquely to the beat of his own drum. Touching on themes of self-discovery and carving one’s own path in this world, A New Heart is an excellent ride.
Named after a guest vocalist who had recently had a heart transplant, Thomas’s 10-song collection also has some eccentricity. In “Money Tree”, Thomas sings about a fantastical money tree. In “High On Chocolate”, what I first thought was a youngster band on the road singing about chocolate is actually (literally) about sugar addiction. For the most part, though, Thomas really keeps the sounds and lyrics swelling with self-reflection and honest thoughts.
“The Big Picture”, which is the first song, has a laid back beat mixed a bit of the psychedelic sixties soul. I found this song to be perfect out of the gate. I also found it to be one of the standouts because it encapsulated so much. The song is about not getting hang-ups on the small stuff, and really seeing life for all its worth. You can plan and try and put all those ‘puzzle pieces’ in the places you think will fit best, but hey, it’s life. The laissez faire attitude is really captured in the grooves and especially in Thomas’ light-hearted, higher pitch voice. It’s a great jam song and I can easily imagine this song being played at an outdoor festival or hot summer night bandshell concert. It just begs to have that ‘cheers’ and ‘raise your glass’ moment.
Another standout is “Reinvent Yourself”. This song nearly pounces on you in the opening moments. When it started it almost reminded me of U2’s “The Blackout”. The dirty, rock-club-like guitars just throw out some major heat. In true Thomas fashion, the light and the warmth come out like shards of glass and sun rays through stained glass. This song is about flipping the script and inspiring the listener to go out of their comfort zone, and know that it’s all okay, it’s all good.
“Mirror Mirror” is also a spotlight song. At first it didn’t call to me the same way “Reinvent Yourself” or even “On My Way Out” shook me. But I kept coming back to it and found myself wanting to keep turning over that stone. “Mirror Mirror” has a sound that marinates in a darker color scheme – it’s not as warm or bright. Thomas wears his heart on his sleeve in this fascinating track.
A shout out to “Comfort Zone” for its encouraging words. I really dug how Thomas shows his personality in these songs, and “Comfort Zone” really had me bopping. Overall, A New Heart really put me in a new head space.