Review: The Rocket Summer – Of Men and Angels

Artist: The Rocket Summer
Album: Of Men and Angels
Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Island Def Jam

Bryce Avary has been a name in the music scene since Calender Days hit the streets in 2003. Having made a name for himself and his project The Rocket Summer on indie label The Militia Group, the act up streamed before releasing Do You Feel in 2007. Three years later, following the You Gotta Believe EP, Avery and crew are about to unleash the newest full length, Of Men and Angels, on February 23rd.

Digging deep into his Christian roots, Of Men and Angels finds Avary reaching beyond his normal routine of feel good jams for some introspective glances and talk of how his faith keeps him going. Everything starts off pretty by the numbers musically, but the shell of redundancy finally cracks on the catchy “Hills and Valleys” which boasts a crowd ready clap track and enough “woo-ooos” to make any pop fan melt. Avery takes a much more serious step on the passionate “Walls,” but even by track 5 the constant mention of life going awry, wondering what went wrong, and helping or helping find help to get through it begins to wear on you. Unfortunately for the listener though, there are still 10 tracks of it to go.

The title track once again finds Avary taking a solemn approach to the ivories. His flow is driven and the rhythm is even more so before culminating in a hook that picks the album up from the ashes. The second breath continues on the grandiose, yet hook driven “I need A Break, But I’d Rather have a Breakthrough” before falling apart entirely on the completely disposable “Japanese Exchange Student.” A hit making piano melody goes to waste on a track about the world of celebrity. Get over yourself Bryce.

Luckily, the acoustic drive “Tara, I’m Terrible” takes a solid attempt at once again pulling the album from depths, but it’s too little too late. The by the numbers “Hey” then attempts to work the pop angle once again, but I doubt anyone will find this song too enjoyable after the first few plays. The pop simplicity goes a bit too far and about seals the coffin on the record. A few more tracks go by and work by sticking to the typical piano driven pop the group is known for, but nothing really raises eyebrows.

Piano driven pop rock will always have a place in the music scene. There’s something about a relationship stunted pretty boy with a piano that sells and will continue to sell as long as teen girls have access to promo pictures. Unfortunately for The Rocket Summer though, the lack of innovative or even creative takes on the genre causes Of Men and Angels to feel a bit too cliche from the get go. It’s a proven method to selling that’s simply starting to feel a bit old. You’re nearing a decade in the game Bryce, time for some new ideas.

Score: 6/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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5 Responses to “Review: The Rocket Summer – Of Men and Angels”

  1. Matthew says:

    You are clueless, while you have the right to say what you want about the music. To say that Bryce is a “relationship stunted pretty boy.” is out of line and without base. He has been married for five years and last time i saw him, see was behind the merchandise table. And to say that he is trying to make some run of the mill music to sell albums is also ludacris. You must not have listened to the album, it’s more likely that he has sacrificed commercial success because he refuses to leave his faith out of his music. “I know it’s not to sexy that i am singing about the blessings, when we give up ourselves for something good.” Like i said you have the right to your own opinion about the music but to a little research before your review, get to know the artist a little, do your job, not some half assed review where you make lazy assumptions about musicians.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your so unprofessional! If your going to review an album at least spell the artist’s name correctly. You clearly did not do any research on Bryce **Avary** whatsoever. You have no credibility at all. You want to talk about “new ideas”? Your running a review site that is just one out of millions and millions.

  3. James says:

    I like when you correct my errors with spelling errors of your own. Also, thanks for living up to your insult by not using your name or email. Finally, and probably best of all, I’m glad that if we’re just one of millions that we were worthy enough of your time.

  4. Kristen says:

    Solid CD from Bryce. Different but in a good way. Read the review here:

  5. Madi says:

    Bryce Avary is beyond amazing. You obviously have no real taste in good, talented music. Good thing the other errors were simple mistakes, not stupid ones as not knowing someones real name. If anything Bryce is over himself. You’re not. He cares about his fans and would rather please them then himself. I’d much rather listen to the music Bryce puts out, even if to you it may sound the same. Because unlike any other musician, Bryce can tap into my emotional side, he sings about real things, NOT sex drugs and alcohol. So thanks for trying to make him look bad dude, you just failed. Go find yourself a real job and stop getting jealous because he gets more attention then you. Oh and the only reason you’re getting my attention is because your writing about Bryce. It’s not because I look at your website.