It’s supposed to soar.
If only for the space of a four minute song it’s supposed to dig into your soul and take you to that place where your heart just bursts wide open.
It’s supposed to elevate your emotions, to make you feel, even when you think you cant.
It’s supposed to give you goosebumps.
You know those goosebumps well, don’t you? The physical manifestation of your emotions bursting right through that skin of yours. Skin you tried to toughen in order to withstand the hurt of the outside world, but good music sees right through you.
Music knows your secrets.
Great music is supposed to do all those things. One Spark the new album by Chris Eves and the New Normal does all those things. Chris Eves knows what we all know, the stories we all keep deep in our hearts. The ones that make our hearts soar and put a spring in our steps, the ones where mutual desire is so palpable between two people that it’s only a matter of time, and the ones where it all goes bad and stepping away is a self-respecting statement of empowerment and courage.
Listening to the songs he’s written in this follow up the excellent 2017 debut Find Your Way it makes you wonder how Eves can play that guitar so well with his heart all over his sleeve like that.
One Spark, recorded at More Sound Studios by Andrew Greacen and mastered by Jocko Randall is so rich with top notch musicianship by Eves’ longtime bandmates Mike Spadaro on bass, Sean Benz on drums, Mike D’Ambrosio on keys, and the prodigal Jay Lock coming back on guitar for “In Between”. It will come to no surprise to those of us who have been lucky enough to see The New Normal play, that these guys play together with the kind of proficiency and intuition that only a gig tested, well practiced group of musicians can.
Look, the word “tight” is thrown around in music a lot. Take it from me. I’ve probably spent untold hours trying to avoid using that hackneyed expression.
But these guys are tight. Okay?
One Spark takes you on a funky ride through various stages of relationships, love fulfilled, lust unbridled and love devastated. I read a lot of words associated with this band as far as genre goes, anything from jam band to rock, funk, blues, sometimes I definitely hear Jazz influences in some of the song constructions. What this band is, is a damn good, guitar based rock n roll band that anyone could enjoy regardless of your genre of choice. The songwriting (all songs by Eves) is impeccable.
“Anything But Ordinary” is a radio ready piece of blue eyed soul perfection that is written by a man who is in awe of the woman he loves, with an up-tempo, top-down, irresistible chorus an driving keyboard work by the aforementioned Mr. D’Ambrosio. A sweetly romantic song that you can picture yourself driving, along to with the windows open on a summer night.
“We’ve Only Got Goodbye”, a funky, jazzy, story of reclaiming ones soul from the devastation of a failed relationship, the breakup song the great Boz Skaggs wishes he’d have written and features a soaring guitar solo that perfectly complements the lyrics.
There’s Princely, sexy funk to be found in “Light The Fuse” a song about that part of a relationship with so much sexual tension that explosion is inevitable, no matter the consequences.. You’re going to be working out your dance moves to this one. “you look just like the right kind of wrong for me/I’m going to take my chances on what’s never meant to be” Goddamn…..
The title track is a 7 minute, soaring, rock n roll symphony continuing the theme of wonderment and appreciation of a partner, a track that swells with expressive guitar solos presented in a sort of miniature movement within the piece before returning to the theme.
Like Find Your Way before it, One Spark showcases a musical craftsman, with impeccable attention to detail and a band with chops for days.
In art, literature and music, we need hopeless romantics. We need people that keep their hearts on their sleeves at all times and lay it all out there and create art that makes our own hearts soar. Chris Eves is one of those people and along with The New Normal he knows how to hit just the right notes, musical and otherwise, that remind us all that love and music can take us places.
Isn’t that why we love music in the first place?
Chris Eves and the New Normal can be found on Facebook for upcoming dates and more info.
One Spark Cover Photography: Jessica Joerger
Special thanks to Misse Thomas.
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