CD Review: The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer

Do You Feel

Island Records

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The Rocket Summer’s major label debut, Do You Feel, rings similar to their two previous full-length albums. Bryce Avary, the band’s songwriter, singer, and instrumentalist has perfected his sound with this release.

The Rocket Summer got its start back in 1999, when then-16-year-old Avary self-released his first EP. Since then, he’s earned a dedicated following, but has yet to break into the mainstream. The second full-length, Hello, Good Friend, in 2005, deserved much more success than it achieved, languishing without proper promotion. With major-label backing, Do You Feel should be the album to finally catapult The Rocket Summer into the spotlight.

The tracks, as usual, are charged pop songs designed to have everyone not only singing, but dancing along. Avary’s sense of urgency is apparent in the album’s opening track, “Break It Out,” in which he sings, “Get off your feet and/Make this count.”

Avary, now 24 years old, has matured with this record, and it’s reflected in the album’s lyrical content. “All I Have” starts out slowly and soulfully, then quickly transforms into another power-pop piano ballad. For once, Avary doesn’t seem overly joyful as he asks, “Is anyone watching?/Is anyone listening?/Are we listening?”

The album’s first single, “So Much Love,” features a horn section and has the makings of a Top 40 hit. The lyrics are a bit saccharine (“You look like the songs that I've heard my whole life coming true”), but the melody rescues it.

Do You Feel is afeel-good album, perfect for popping into your car stereo or playing out by the pool. Avary correctly named his band, as he produces music that isn’t only best in the summer, but perhaps made for it. – Lauren Papiernik

By the way: The Rocket Summer performs Sunday, July 22, at the Culture Room, 2045 N Federal Hwy, Ft Lauderdale. The show starts at 7:00 p.m., and all ages are welcome. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Visit www.ticketmaster.com, or www.cultureroom.net.

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