No older and more hard-working than ever, The Rocket Summer comes back with a follow-up to the fantastic Do You Feel, a fantastic pop album by Bryce Avary wich was pure, Summer-esque fun. The new album, Of Men And Angels gives me somewhat mixed feelings.
For once, The Rocket Summer seems to be maturing and expanding musically, but Bryce Avary seems to have lost his fun. Where are the happy-go-lucky lyrics that “So Much Love” carried so proudly? The vibrant power pop found in “Do You Feel”? They seem to be long gone, now replaced by darker lyrics.
“You Gotta Believe” sounds like an excellent b-side from Do You Feel, with its “woahs” in the chorus and Bryce Avary’s happy mood. But it is probably the only song in which Avary seems to be having fun. “I Need A Break… But I’d Rather Have A Breakthrough” is a fantastic example of what I’m trying to explain. On the surface the song seems to be pure power pop goodness, but thanks to its lyrics and Avary’s sad/honest tune, it takes away some of the fun. Maturing involves facing your problems and taking responsibilities but can’t you have fun while doing it?
Still, Avary may not be having fun, but the album still features some fantastic songs. “Hills and Valleys” features a horribly catchy chorus, “Walls” is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad and “Light” ends the album in a mature, honest way.
So, all in all, it could’ve been better. Of Men And Angels sounds somewhat lacking that fun factor and while that means that the ballads are better than ever, The Rocket Summer needs to reevaluate its priorities and just be happy.