Aaron Powell is a singer/songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario. If the name and the place don't ring any bells, readers may remember Powell as the lead guitarist of The City Harmonic. The band closed out their music career earlier this year with the brilliant Benediction (Live), and just as his former band specialized in crafting superb, artistically minded worship anthems, My Heart Belongs is looking to continue this tradition, but does it succeed?
The musical palette Powell samples from here is strongly reminiscent of The Digital Age's material, especially Evening:Morning. There's a youthful earnestness that radiates from these songs, and while this sets him apart from his contemporaries, Powell doesn't get nearly as creative as the Harmonic did on albums like Heart. At its core, the EP is highly accessible and easy to revisit. Opening the six-song EP is the excellent titular track, a soaring anthem that reaches nearly majestic heights in its bridge. "Only Prayer" follows and slows things down ever so slightly for a humble chorus that declares, "Your heart is my only prayer / If you take this, I'll fall I swear." "Where Life Takes You" is another solid cut that recalls most the aforementioned comparison between Powell and The Digital Age. Lyrically, it's about following Christ's leading in life and to "....leave all else behind."
The EP lulls a little in its back half with "Do You Feel My Pain?" and "Back Seat," the former of which is an acoustic ballad that, unfortunately, doesn't have anything all that interesting to give. "Back Seat" is a nice, flowing alt-pop tune that similarly passes by without leaving much of an impression musically. The track is somewhat redeemed, however, by a creative allegory to being young and unable to stand independently with sitting in the back seat of the car as Christ drives. "Let's Start Tonight" closes the EP with another solid pop/rock anthem that brings back the quality of the three opening numbers.
With a little more creative liberty, Powell has the talent to write a great record. My Heart Belongs is solid but rather tame compared to his former band's work (such as "Wake Me Up" or "Glory"), so it feels a bit safe and restricted. However, as an introduction EP, I offer this more as a piece of advice for later records than as a criticism of this one. As it stands, fans of The Digital Age and The City Harmonic will find plenty to love here.
- Review date: 12/10/17, written by Lucas Munachen of Jesusfreakhideout.com