Not a smooth takeoff for The Rocket Summer’s latest

Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer has colossal talent. Not only does he have a top-notch voice but he also plays the various core instruments that are found in his albums.

His previous release, “Do You Feel,” was a quality offering, containing unforgettable hooks and multiple stand-out tracks. For pop-rock lovers, the new release from The Rocket Summer has been highly anticipated. Unfortunately, the album falls short of expectations by failing to build on prior success. “Of Men And Angels” is a big musical disappointment of 2010.

Though it can be considered a letdown, “Of Men And Angels” is by no means the music industry’s worst, (Heidi Montag’s first attempt at a music career has officially launched). However, it is simply mediocre.
The album lacks lacks the striking vocals that made the previous tracks so enjoyable. Songs such as the album’s opener, “Roses,” demonstrate Avary’s abilities to write catchy choruses, but they do not have a great deal of retail value.

The best tracks prove to be ones that have been previously released in the teaser EP, “You Gotta Believe.” Due to its soulful lyrics and irresistible handclaps, “Hills and Valleys” is the star of the album and the type of track that Avary should strive to make more of in the future.

Aside from “Hills and Valleys,” the album’s main shortcoming is its songwriting. While The Rocket Summer has never had the most distressing or unique lyrics, they were tolerable and somewhat endearing when coupled with their respective melodies. With “Of Men And Angels,” the lyrics are clichéd and predictable.

Consequently, the poor lyricism causes some songs to lose their luster. A prime example of this is in the piano ballad, “Walls.” The song is solid but extremely lovesick, which prevents it from being great.
Tracks like “Pull Myself Together (Don’t Hate Me)” and “Nothing Matters” have good and proud intentions but the lack of changing lyrics ensures neither of them leave a strong impression.

Other problems with this record is the overly dramatic length and undeserving tracks that made the cut, including the ghastly “Japanese Exchange Student.”

Rather than thinking outside of the box or experimenting with new sounds, most of the songs are safe and identical to Avary’s earlier material. While change can easily work against an artist’s image, mediocrity can be just as dangerous. With “Of Men And Angels,” we are willing to give Avary some slack and wait impatiently for another breakthrough.

Jacalyn Estrada can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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