toddzero. . . .pop rock has met electronica and blues and came out so fun you can’t help but clap along. Todd Zero is very unique in sound.

Kid Heart
Hembot recordings

 “Gotta get back, get back; get back, get back to your kid heart!” These words are the first thing to greet your ears when you hit the play button for this very intriguing album.  An almost spooky sounding, Bob Dylan-ish style of vocals that is quickly followed by an almost dark sounding electronica that pleads with the listener to “remember who you are - get back to your kid heart…”

Todd Zero is very unique in sound, and Kid Heart is a very refreshing album that stands out from the usual guitar-and-drum beat music that you are entertained with on the radio.  Made up of just one man from Los Angeles, he hits a home run with his sophomore release (First release: 1234567 EP, 2012).  The sonic waves are not just good to the ears, but leave one with an almost visual feel of what could easily be imagined as a sound track to a Tim Burton film.  The only time the album falters musically is track 5, “Make It Home Tonight.”  A ballad that really takes the beat down a lot, it almost sounds like the vocals and instruments were forced to go slow.  The listener is left with a bit of tension, as though one is expecting it to burst forth any second, but it just doesn’t.

However, don’t let that dissuade you from getting this album. As a whole it is a must-have, and addictive by the time you get to track 10. Titled “Go,” musically it far surpasses any of the other tracks, with catchy electronica that makes you want to dance, a beat that moves you, and even a banjo that blends so perfectly in a way you just couldn’t imagine.  When you get to the final track, “We Will Win,” you are greeted with a beat given to you by hand-clap and a musical feel that makes you think pop rock has met electronica and blues and come out so fun you can’t help but clap along.

Lyrically, there seems to be a split message to the album.  This could be perceived as a weakness, if you are the type to get hung up on the idea that the title of the album should reflect through every song.  Before I go further, when I say “split” I do not mean contradictory, but rather, two different messages for two different people.

The first half of the album (tracks 1-6) seem to target the Christian who may be wandering, needing to “Get back to your kid heart.”  The idea of redemption flows from Todd Zero's pen. As he reminds us in the opening track, “I’ll take your old heart/I’ll fix the broken parts/Remember where you started/Before you go too far.”  Track 3, “Daddy’s Broken Down Car,” explores the idea that while people will let us down, God never will.  A great reflection for those of us who have wandered off a bit.  The aforementioned track 5, while lacking a bit musically, redeems itself with moving words, closing out this half of the album with the words of hope on every prodigal son’s lips: “I might be lost… sometimes/Might not make the wrongs… all right/But I will make it home… tonight.”

After this, the theme shifts.  Lyrically a completely different story line, the listener is taken from the first point of view to an almost evangelical look on the life of Christ.  Track 7: “When Love Comes Riding By (Hosanna)" kicks it off with a choir joining in the background.  A picturesque view of the triumphal entry from a Palm Sunday so long ago, the listener is asked, “Hosanna/In the highest/What other words could we cry?/When Love comes riding by.” This song is followed by “That’s Alright, Adonai,” a tribute to the garden of Gethsemane.

“Go” hits you with an exciting view of the resurrection, as does “Rise.”  The finale, “We Will Win,” will have listeners singing along with a breath of much needed hope for the trials of this life: “We will win, we will win in the end.”

And truly in the end, this album is a huge “win” for Todd Zero that is a must have for any collection.

Randy Jackson

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