Saturday, March 13, 2010

First Listen: The Rocket Summer, Of Men and Angels

Bryce Avary seems like a nice guy. He's driven, he's earnest, and he seems to mean every word he passionately sings on every album by his one-man band, the Rocket Summer. Avary writes, produces and plays every note on Of Men and Angels, his fourth full-length, and that's impressive in and of itself.

I just wish it wasn't all so "inspiring." I'm happy enough to give Avary credit for his determination and skill, but these songs are all the same. There's 15 of them on this album, and every one is an anthem of positivity overcoming pain. It's stuffed full of cliches, and its one mood gets wearying after a while. This is the kind of album with straight-ahead song titles like "You Gotta Believe," "Pull Myself Together," "I Want Something to Live For" and (God help me) "I Need a Break...But I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough."

Avary earns my respect for doing things his way, and making the Rocket Summer a purely personal expression. I just wish I liked it more.

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