The Rocket Summer – Of Men And Angels
February 23, 2010
Bryce Avary, aka The Rocket Summer is one of those acts that has a certain characteristic feel or vibe. The upbeat, powerpop-influenced pop/rock this young man gives us is infectious and generally makes you smile, makes you feel good. But you can’t really say it’s just feel good music. The Rocket Summer is a an act based on strong songwriting with clever pop hooks and most of the time thoughtful lyrical content.
On “Calendar Days” the songs were quite raw and unpolished, which in itself was part of the charm of that record. It had a nostalgic yet happy-go-lucky vibe to it. It was fresh and accessible. Avaray continued that trend on “Hello, Good Friend”, though you might say that “Calendar Days” was more surprising than the sophomore release.
With a slightly more mainstream approach on “Do You Feel”, Avary got right back on track. With perhaps his strongest songwriting at that point he released not just a solid album, but a remarkable effort that garnered a lot of critical acclaim among critics and peers. With this album he set the bar high for himself regarding future releases.
This year The Rocket Summer released his 4th studio album “Of Men And Angels”. On this record he continues the more mainstream approach, though the songs have a more polished sound. Where, with other bands, this might lead to a ‘sell out album’, this is not the case with The Rocket Summer. The basic recording process leaves an organic, natural sounding album with songs that are radio friendly, catchy and have a high sing along factor. Lyrically I would say “Do You Feel” had a little more substance, but “Of Men And Angels” might be more cohesive in the theme of going through life’s struggle, coming out stronger because of it. Songs like Roses, Hills & Valleys, Walls, I Need A Break… and Let You Go are potential hit singles. The best song on the album, however, is Hey! which makes a terrific live song with a lot of energy and musically it’s more complicated than it sounds, but Avary makes it sound so easy.
The Rocket Summer’s talent for solid songwriting combined with his attitude and iconic vocals make him a unique act that brings something fresh and creative to the table. Even if the music isn’t exactly your thing it will still get to you, take you along for the ride. It’s infectious, and effective too. And “Of Men And Angels” is an album filled with that quality. And with the excellent live potential of the songs, The Rocket Summer’s fame is probably only going to grow. So his plea (“I need a break… but I’d rather have a breakthrough”) might be in the process of becoming reality.