The Rocket Summer

Life Will Write The Words

Written by: TL on 25/06/2012 22:31:08

Bryce Avary - or as most of you may know him; The Rocket Summer, is a musician that I haven't been as much following with dedication, as I have been checking back on him on occasion. Mostly I've withheld full blown admiration, not because Avary hasn't proven his knack for super catchy pop-rock time and time again (which he has), but more so because the singer/multi-instrumentalist's path has always taken pop-rock to its most excited and borderline corny extremes and has thus occasionally struggled with coming across credibly enough to avoid warranting some apprehension from music fans less easily impressionable. And it hasn't been without this apprehension then, that I've approached Avary's fifth LP "Life Will Write The Words" with its shameless album title and cover.

As it turns out however, I need never have worried, because if "Life Will Write The Words" is anything to go by, maturity is gradually giving Avary's music the ballast it has needed to really sink in. As is obvious to anyone familiar with the man, penning bright, encouraging and catchy tunes has always been his talent, and such are of course not absent from this record, but great American songwriting tradition seems to be entering the picture more and more, helping the seemingly eternally young Texan translate his emotions into songs that just feel like they have more depth and warmth than ever.

One effect is that rather than likening The Rocket Summer to other youthful pop-rock standard bearers like Relient K, Marianas Trench or Panic! At The Disco, you get the feeling that more durable names are starting to creep into the cabinet of influences. Granted we're not talking Bruce Springsteen quite yet, because Avary's perennial positivity ensures that his music is consistenly feel-good enough to pass for easy pop on any radio station, but if you make the more accurate (I think) comparisons to grown ups' pop rockers like Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls or even Counting Crows, then "Life Will Write The Words" sounds like something that belongs in the upmost echelon when we're talking collections of songs released by any such band.

I write this with quite a bit of excitement stemming of course from how ridiculously consistent the album is as exactly that; a collection of good songs. I'm not too sure I understand the choice of opener "Run And Don't Stop" for a single, but if you take the following "Revival" and then everything from track four "Old Love" to track ten "The Rescuing Type", then Avary hardly goes wrong for even a second, rather capturing your attention with one ridiculously infectious, piano-infused pop-rock anthem after another. For a whopping 8 out of 12 tracks, The Rocket Summer simply has you by the ears, and though it is near impossible to pick favourites from this strong crop, I must highlight "Old Love" for the oldschool romanticism in its lyrics, as well as "Circa '46" for its irresistable bounce and melody come the chorus, which also lends lyrics to the album title. Really though, "Underrated", "Soldier", "200.000 Miles", "Just For A Moment Forget Who You Are" and "The Rescuing Type" are all either equally good or as near as makes no matter, and the only thing you can really fault them for is that they obscure the fact that other songs like "Run And Don't Stop", "Prove It" and "Scrapbook" are actually pretty decent too.

I suppose you could criticise the record for hardly pushing any stylistical boundaries, or for falling a bit short of the grandeur that closing track "Ashes Made Of Spades" clearly shows ambitions towards. You could complain about the arrangements being more sequenced and linear than layered and expansive - which certainly helps the record be as catchy as it is, while one is left to wonder if it hurts its longevity. It's just too easy to forget such things when Avary's verses give way to choruses with leaps in intensity any pop songwriter should witness with envy. Even if it is nothing else, this record is a parade of hooks, longer than you'll often get to hear, and when you consider the fact that Avary did as always write, play and sing every note of music on the disc himsef - adding his "Texan Michael Jackson" vocals to drums, bass, guitar, piano, synths and various other things - you almost get the feeling that you're hearing the combined talents of an extremely gifted musician finally starting to come together. "Life Will Write The Words" then, is a record that, even for its small flaws, essentially tells us that here is an artist that is only getting better and it is a record I have a feeling will be among the very catchiest - if not flat out best - of the year.

Download: Old Love, Circa '46, 200.000 Miles, Just For A Moment Forget Who You Are
For The Fans Of: Matchbox 20, Jack's Mannequin, Goo Goo Dolls,

Release Date 05.06.2012
Aviate Records

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