A Picture Made – Heal

Heal is a 13-track album from alt-pop-rock band A Picture Made. Hailing from Missouri and Kansas, perhaps the bigger story than the group’s album is the length of time it took to actually record and release the record – 35 years. The spine tingling words and the undeniable chemistry of this band is felt in all songs and Heal positions itself as a contender for 2019 album of the year awards.

Out of the gate, “Heal Me” is a little quirky, but a nice little opener. The vocals are friendly and the voice coming through dances around a softer, poppy guitar riff, drums and faint keys. Once the songs “Quitting Now Would Be Treason” , “Boxes On The Floor”, “A Signal Hovering Over America” and “Come To Me” the listener gets a solid sense of the journey this band has made to create such moving stories.

Before listening, a quick read of the band’s bio states that the group toured in support of the Minneapolis’ band, The Replacements. It would be a logical conclusion to think that a band lie A Picture Made would have a similar sound and similar fire in their belly.

It’s not they lack the fire – they have a definitive energy and charisma – it’s that A Picture Made seems to transcend its live sound in the studio. Not very many bands that can say that. Not seeing them live, though, many listeners might be at a disadvantage. And, after all, that was 35 years ago.

Time past aside, songs like “When You Get Down” and “God Loves A Hell Of A Man” get the listener into a groove and pace that is really enjoyable. Think Bob Dylan, Dawes, Conor Oberst and even The Avett Brothers.

Music Is Love” has a dramatic piano orchestration and fun word spins: music is love / it’s a drug / it’s gotta buzz / there’s a sunshine, a love line…a cold, sorry night / there’s a moonbeam through a window, shining on my soul / music is love…While some might find the chorus a bit repetitive, the way the vocals are sang with such reflection, as if an elder were assuring a young child, the listener feels such ease and contemplation while listening.

Time certainly has been good to a band like A Picture Made. It just goes to show that art doesn’t age, and a band’s journey isn’t a one size fits all scenario. Listeners won’t walk away feeling let down from an album like Heal.

It’s fulfilling and highly entertaining. And, just as they sing “music is love”, the music bed and the stirring melodies throughout Heal seems to call out all the years that have past and put to bed any reasons for doubt.

Fans of modern alt-country-rock (like aforementioned Dawes, The Avett Brothers and Conor Oberst) and bands like The Head and The Heart, Of Monsters and Men and even The Replacements will find something they like on this album.

It’s truly a spectacle of musicianship and wordsmiths that has been well worth the wait. Even though they come from the Heartland, A Picture Made’s words and messages are universal; their sound is globally embraced.

Check out the official website for A Picture made by clicking here. Give them a follow on Instagram by clicking here.

Eric Jarvis

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