The Rocket Summer – Of Men and Angels CD Review
By: Tyler Hoppel
Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, The Rocket Summer is a guitar driven side project of Bryce Avary. Not only does Bryce play every instrument on his records, he also writes and produces his them himself. He is widely known as “the epitome of a hardworking musician”. After three years of relentless touring and recording The Rocket Summer has finally resurfaced with a new album. With Of Men And Angels (released February 23, 2010 on Island/Def Jam), Bryce Avary gives his long awaited fans what could easily be his best record yet. Mixing TRS’s piano and guitar driven rock with a classic pop rock flair, the fifteen song collection is both fun and thought-provoking.
The opening track “Roses” sets the pace for Of Men And Angels, the topic of faith is quickly introduced and seems to be an under-tone for the record. “You Gotta Believe” and “Hills and Valleys” are fast paced piano driven songs, which some listeners might remember from the You Gotta Believe EP released in October of 2009. Next, “I Want Something To Live For,” has a beautifully catchy chorus and will have you singing along long after the song is over. The tempo slows a bit with an emotional song called “Walls”. There’s no stopping Bryce’s rhythm as “I Need A Break… But I’d Rather Have A Breakthrough” picks up where he left off, just in time. Two songs that shouldn’t have made the album is “Japanese Exchange Student” with cheesy lyrics: “So, hey, be nice to the Japanese exchange students, Cause’ people wouldn’t know them, right when they show up” and “Tara, I’m Terrible”, are both let downs. “Hey!” sounds exactly like you’d expect and is a relief to hear after the two songs that preceded it. “Light” concludes the album with a great lyrical ending, “But I will trust it’s not the end, But a great beginning”. This is not the end of The Rocket Summer, it’s a great beginning to launching him to the next level.
Bryce called Of Men And Angels “the most substance-filled Rocket Summer album to date.” The description is not entirely true but certainly not entirely false either. Lyrically, the record is miles away from previous TRS material. Consequently, there aren’t a whole lot of defining moments musically in Of Men And Angels. But The Rocket Summer wouldn’t be The Rocket Summer without the catchy melodies and the simple joy in each song. Of Men and Angels happy songs can save your day, no matter your mood and it’s infectious nature will certainly improve it.
For fans of: Cartel, Something Corporate and Relient K
Of Men and Angels Track stand-outs – “Roses”, “You Gotta Believe” and “Walls”
Of Men and Angels Track listing:
02. You Gotta Believe
03. Hills And Valleys
04. I Want Something To Live For
06. Pull Myself Together (Don’t Hate Me)
07. Of Men And Angels
08. I Need A Break – But I’d Rather Have A Breakthrough
09. Nothing Matters
10. Japanese Exchange Student
11. Tara, I’m Terrible!
13. Let You Go
14. This Is A Refuge