San Diego’s Kevin Thomas Band keeps it real and keeps it smooth in the 10-track album, A New Heart. Offering a mix of California sun kissed stylings, with a boyish charm vocals, from start to finish this is a journey that grooves and moves like a summer day that you don’t want to end. From “The Big Picture” and its melodic guitar bends to the giddy “Let Your Arrow Fly” to the closer “The Best Luck Around”, the Kevin Thomas Band makes it super easy to like their songs all around.
In “The Big Picture” a faint organ – could it be the Hammond B Organ, makes its way through the undercurrent. What I liked most about this song, and frankly all the songs on A New Heart is that there’s this gregariousness about his writing. He connects on an everyday level. He’s not so verbose that you need a dictionary to figure out what he’s singing about. The song structure in “The Big Picture” also builds after the bridge, offering an almost island-like percussion bed.
“Comfort Zone” has a killer groove. I loved the bounce of the bass, alongside the piano keys. Get out of your comfort zone, he sings, encouragingly. This one had me toe-tapping. I loved the tempo and the way he emphasizes, fire up the flame, with a chagrin. He keeps you in the ‘zone’ with the next crop of songs that include “Time”, “Money Tree” and “Let Your Arrow Fly.”
In “Reinvent Yourself”, the rocking track starts out with a strobe-light pattern. It’s way different than the other songs, but soon flows into the Jay Thomas Band wheelhouse of thought-provoking lyrics and a music bed with depth. Then, in “Mirror Mirror” the murky guitar riff has a mysterious tone. It feels darker than the rest of the songs (save for “On My Way Out”) and channels a bit more drama than the previous tracks. “Mirror Mirror” explores something different lyrically. I think the guitar work suggests something sad, but yet Thomas’ vocals always have a bright spot to them. It feels like this is a song you listen to when you’re down – or when you’re way up and want to come off that high.
Speaking of high – “High On Chocolate” is a fun track that keeps you on a bit of a sugar high. Baby do you want to get high, Thomas sings. His voice is laid back and it’s so darn charming you just have to think of having a great day at the beach. The final two tracks, “On My Way Out” and “The Best Luck Around” cultivate an even stronger sense of interesting grooves and a diverse sound base. I think you can hear their ‘core’ sound in all of these songs, but the Jay Thomas Band has a wider soundscape than you would think. Fans of Jack Johnson, Train, County Crows, The Dave Matthews Band and possibly 311 (no rap here) will surely dig the songs on A New Heart. This one’s a keeper.