Review Summary: A one man band from texas soars to new heights with his first major label release
Bryce Avary is the multi talneted man behind The Rocket Summer, whose first record was released at the tender age of 16. The Texas native established a strong local fan base, leading to this; his first major label release. It didn't seem possible for Avary to create more hook-filled, summertime pop than what he crafted on his first two indie releases, yet that's precisely what he did on Do You Feel.
If you take the piano-based soft-rock of, say, Daniel Powter, added a slight touch of Maroon 5 groove and a hefty dose of Mika's undeniable zest, you wouldn't be far off from the music of The Rocket Summer. 'Break It Out' couldn't be more aptly named, an upbeat tune with so much power-pop bounce that on one listen you can instantly imagine audiences bobbing up and down to the beat. With a touch more groove is 'So Much Love', instantly likeable and nearly forgettable if it wasn't for the blaring saxophone solo. Avary is clearly understanding of the ingredients to a pop track - take your pick from the dynamic 'High Life Scenery', 'Hold It Up' or 'Waiting' and you've got a potential hit single. The Big Chorus also seems to be a speciality of The Rocket Summer, both 'Do You Feel' and 'All I Have' could have you singing along by the second run.
Evident in abundance that the record is slick in style, there is also substance behind the sweetness. The outstanding 'Taken Aback' stomps along relentlessly as Avary attempts to explain the regret of the fading of a relationship when one of those involved moves away - or goes on tour, perhaps. More impressively, the self-explanatory 'A Song Is Not A Business Plan' takes a swipe at those only in the industry to make money. When he sings 'Do you even know what you're even saying/Or as you just saying it because someone else said it', it is reminiscent of Kurt Cobain's cry on Nirvana's 'In Bloom': 'He likes to sing along. but he knows not what it means'. Musically they couldn't be further apart, but the message is the same. Having created this record alone and then co-producing the results, it is fair to The Rocket Summer is someone who takes his music very seriously, even if the sound is as care-free as you will hear all year. Whether or not this will translate to mainstream success is hard to call, but given a couple of month's airplay, 90% of the tracks here would become a hit song.