Do You Feel
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Jul
- Break It Out
- So Much Love
- Do You Feel
- All I Have
- High Life Scenery
- A Song Is Not a Business Plan
- Taken Aback
- Run to You
- Hold It Up
- So, In this Hour …
The term "summer album" gets thrown around a lot to describe energetic music that's played while having fun in the sun, maybe driving around with the windows down. Catchy, but not necessarily something you would devote much attention to. Similarly, "ear candy" is often delicious and fluffy, but often lacking in substance.
Both terms are appropriate for Bryce Avary, a singer/songwriter in his mid-twenties who performs almost all the instrumentation himself under the moniker The Rocket Summer (he's joined by other musicians in concert). His sophomore effort "Hello, Good Friend" was enjoyable enough for us to name him one of 2005's best new artists, though one couldn't help wondering how he'd fare with stronger songwriting and more polished production. Do You Feel answers that speculation with impressive results.
Co-produced by Avary with Jim Wirt (Jack's Mannequin, Incubus), this third album is more stylish and varied than the last in almost every way. That much is evident from just the first single "So Much Love," a terrific bouncy piano pop number elevated by some slick, retro-sounding horns—the same style featured on Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life.
Several songs seem clearly derived from Avary's faith too. The Relient K-styled pop-punk of the title track feels like a paraphrase of
Avary's kid-like vocal may still be an acquired taste for some—like Justin Timberlake or Michael Jackson fronting a rock band—but I find it grows on you with time. Besides, it's overshadowed by the way he deftly balances faith and mainstream accessibility without proselytizing or vaguely generalizing. That The Rocket Summer delivers this newly matured sense of songwriting through a summer album's worth of ear candy only makes it more irresistible.