Of Men and Angels Another Fine Addition from The Rocket Summer

Artist:  The Rocket Summer
Title:  Of Men and Angels
Label:  Island

Terrific pop album marked by style and substance …

Bryce Avary's whip-smart lyrical turns and enticing pop structures have increasingly served him well album after album. From complete anonymity on his early self-titled EP and first full-length project entitled Calendar Days to signing to a major label and breaking through the Billboard charts at #44 with his last LP, Do You Feel, the growth curve is easy to chart for Avary's popularity.

The man behind The Rocket Summer has been referred to as a prodigy in past articles and interviews, but the mainstream is now used to Avary's fantastic piano-powered pop/rock blend. The melodies on Of Men and Angels, as with every other Rocket Summer release, merit front row seats on radio waves coast to coast, yet each song inhabits a depth rarely found in such territory. Each tune is both smart and sexy, a rare achievement for any songwriter in any genre.

The handclaps and ideal piano progression on "Hills and Valleys" reminds of a summery Jon McLaughlin. Lead single "Walls" conjures comparisons to Augustana at their finest. "Nothing Matters" changes instruments (to acoustic guitar) but reserves the album's pop power. "Tara, I'm Terrible" provides a tender look into his relationship with longtime love and wife Tara.

Avary always provides fans with quantity as well as quality and the 15 tracks on Of Men and Angels continue the trend. The beauty of The Rocket Summer is that there's rarely a misstep along the way and this latest release is another fine release in such a promising catalog.


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**This review first published on March 16, 2010.