Kee of Hearts is a new band formed in 2016 built around singer Tommy Heart (Fair Warning) and Kee Marcello, former guitarist with Europe. The band is completed by bass player Ken Sandin and drummer Marco Di Salvia. Their self-titled debut album was recorded and mixed by well known Frontiers Music producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, who also adds keyboards and backing vocals.
With the band members pedigrees, it was pretty much guaranteed that the song writing was going to be full out AOR melodic rock with tonnes of guitar solos, catchy hooks and memorable melodies and it is!
The album opens with ‘The Storm’ and I am blown away by how good Tommy’s voice is and the whole powerful feel of the track, with clean soaring riffs and a classic melodic rock feel. ‘A New Dimension’ continues in the same vein and has a ‘Europe’ vibe to it, key changes and riffs in abundance together with that wonderful voice.
‘Crimson Dawn’ has a big chorus and a very harmonious feel to the nifty guitar work from Marcello. ‘Bridge to Heaven’ continues the powerful feel with a catchy chorus, more riffs, big drums and is a sheer delight to listen to. ’Stranded’ is another well written track with a delightful vocal arrangement and wonderful hooks. ‘Mama Don’t Cry’ is probably as close as it gets to a ballad on this album and is an ear wormer with its repetitive chorus and a definite sing-a-long section at the end ensures you remember this one.
‘Invincible’ shows Tommy’s vocals off wonderfully supported impeccably by the music and ‘SOS’ has a lovely piano opening before the full on melody kicks in. ‘Edge of Paradise’ is full of catchy hooks, stunning riffs, and a fullness to the sound which would lend itself to a pretty awesome live track. ‘Twist of Fate’ packed with catchy refrains and melodic mastery. ‘Learn To Love Again’ continues to showcase the writing skills and you can sense that these guys have enjoyed laying all these tracks down in the studio.
This album wasn’t what I expected, which was something harking back to the 80’s with huge Europe influences. Yes, there are tinges of that sort of feel but they are just fleeting moments.
It may be the influence of Del Vecchio on the production side but it feels very current and very cosmopolitan. The admirable rhythm section of Ken and Marco underpin the tracks perfectly, Del Vecchio’s keyboards fill out each track to give an added interest and Tommy’s vocal sounds strong. There is no doubting Kee’s influence on the tracks but this is at no detriment as his dexterity and his soaring riffs add so much to every track. ‘Bridge To Heaven’ and SOS are both stand out songs for me for their lyrics and well-constructed melodies but they are all rather good, so a difficult choice.
If you enjoy AOR melodic rock this is an album for you. Great job guys, I do hope there is going to be more…
Tommy Heart: vocals
Kee Marcello: guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio: keyboards, backing vocals
Ken Sandin: bass
Marco Di Salvia: drums
PRODUCED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio
STUDIO: Ivorytears Music Works Studios, Somma Lombardo, IT
RECORDED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio
MIXED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio
MASTERED BY: Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, L.A., CA