The Rocket Summer
Calendar Days



by lunchforthesky USER (41 Reviews)
January 24th, 2007 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Debut Album from Bryce Avary's The Rocket Summer which shows must in the way of promise but ultimately fails to really hit the mark.

Bryce Avary, and his one man band The Rocket Summer, seem destined for stardom. He combines infectious pop hooks with splendid song writing and some good instrumentation. He made this, The Rocket Summer’s first full length album at the age of twenty and minus a few backing vocals here or there recorded all the music himself. That being guitars, vocals, keyboards and drums. Pretty impressive seen as he wrote most of this as a teenager. Music wise Calendar Days sounds like the album Michael Jackson would make if he abandoned his descent into madness and went on a Something Corporate bender. At times it’s a refreshing change from all the “slit my wrists and black my eyes,” pop rock that dominates the market but on other occasions it all seems too forced and sugar coated for my liking. Bryce often seems unsure of where he is going with the band. His stand out material is undoubtedly the faster, upbeat tracks however he seems convinced that he can pull off the slow numbers and unfortunately I have to disagree with him. His voice is just too poppy for them and as much as he tries he is not Andrew McMahon (Something Corporate) and neither is he Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional).

In short bursts the slow tempo rhythms work well, take Cross Your Heart for example. Probably the strongest song on Calendar Days, it has a slow start with Bryce singing in his sugary emotional way over some clean strummed chords before the song enters into a faster passage which sounds similar to Ben Folds. Compared with the follow to this album, 2005’s Hello Good Friend, Calendar Days is a weak effort. Although Hello Good Friend is no masterpiece by any means, it is effortlessly superior to Calendar Days. Lyrically the album is very uninventive and cliché, where as Bryce improved significantly in this area on the follow up album. The opening lines to Cross Your Heart illustrate the lack of lyrically creativity, “Cross my heart, hope to die, I swear I won't say what happened that night, so starting today things are gonna be all right.” I want to like it, I really do but it could easilly have been ripped from an Aiden or Hawthorne Heights song and that can never be a good thing.

Both This Is Me and Skies So Blue follow in a similar vein, treading little new ground but having an infectious endearing quality all the same. Saturday has an excellent hook to it even if lyrically it’s little above a joke, “And yeah if only it was Saturday, Saturday, things would be better in every way, every way, and I would be ok.” If this was pure pop music then I can excuse such blatant lack of meaning in songs, but with The Rocket Summer it feels likes he is trying to write deep and meaningful songs whilst balancing that with his pop grooves but he quite simply fails miserably in the lyrical department. The album then moves into ballad country which as I’ve already mentioned is not his strong point. She’s My Baby is possibly even worse than the title would suggest although That’s So You which is simply vocals and an acoustic guitar is actually very respectable, I still maintain his voice is too poppy for this kind of material and that he is not making the best of his abilities but by his standards it’s quite a good little song. Luckily the album doesn’t completely fall out into piano ballad after piano ballad and TV Family which ends the album showcases everything good about the Rocket Summer.

Bryce should definitely be given credit for his originality. While he doesn’t exactly revolutionize pop rock music he certainly has both an original voice and overall sound. If you’ve never heard of the Rocket Summer I strongly urge you to check out Hello Good Friend first but on the other hand if you’re a fan I don’t doubt you will find this album to be better than how I have described.

Recommended Tracks
Cross My Heart
TV Family
That's So You

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user ratings (41)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 24th 2007


Great review :thumb:, keep up the good work.

January 24th 2007


I was just thinking about doing this last night.

But yours is good.

I'd rate this a little higher, but Hello, Good Friend is definitely the better album.

January 24th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

Its been on my to do for a while but i didnt particularly want to do it. Ran out of other things though.

September 10th 2007


TV Family is the best song on this CD

He is such a good drummer it's ridiculous

March 18th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

am i the only one who thinks that this is actually a little better then hello good friend?

Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

What is so special about The Rocket Summer's debut LP 'Calendar Days'? Well, The Rocket Summer is just 1 young man: Gifted 20 year old Bryce Avary; who has written, produced & played every instrument here all on his own! It isn't acoustic folk or synth-pop either, it's energetic power-pop which leans on the rocky side & often incorporates all of your standard instruments plus more. His age shows on some of the optimistically cheesy lyrics, but the delivery is sincere & endearing. And while it may be familiar, it is also proficient & catchy. An amazing achievement. Recommended Tracks: Mean Thoughts & Cheap Shots, Cross My Heart, This Is Me & Saturday.

July 9th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

Album is a little too gay-sounding and overly upbeat to me; I just can't get into this one.

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