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Of Men And Angels by The Rocket Summer  | CD Reviews And Information | NewReleaseToday

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Of Men And Angels [edit]
by The Rocket Summer | Genre: Pop/Rock | Release Date: February 23, 2010

The Rocket Summer is the rock solo project of Bryce Avary, who is based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Avary is known for his unique talents as he plays every instrument on his records as well as produces them. The Rocket Summer's live shows are uplifting, energetic, and emotionally charged. Avary's music has unique emotional qualities that has created a loyal and rabid following of fans around the world.
Of Men and Angels, The Rocket Summer’s spring 2010 release, continued to carry the torch for Avery’s unique and innovative style.

“We're not talking simple acoustic solo stuff here. The music Bryce makes as The Rocket Summer is lush, explosively catchy and artful power pop that hints at a new Brian Wilson or Prince in the making. Keep an eye out on this one.” – AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

Track Listing
Click here to add a video. Click to add lyrics if not listed.
01. Roses
02. You Gotta Believe
03. Hills And Valleys
04. I Want Something To Live For
05. Walls
06. Pull Myself Together (Don't Hate Me)
07. Of Men And Angels
08. I Need A Break... But I'd Rather Have A Breakthrough
09. Nothing Matters
10. Japanese Exchange Student
11. Tara, I'm Terrible
12. Hey!
13. Let You Go
14. This Is A Refuge
15. Light

Entry last edited by CCMSingles on 02.08.16

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Bryce Avary's whipsmart lyrical turns and enticing pop structures have increasingly served him well album after album. From complete anonymity on his early self-titled EP and first full-length entitled Calendar Days to signing to a major label and breaking through the Billboard charts at #44 with his last LP, Do You Feel, the growth curve is easy to chart for Avary's popularity.

The man behind the Rocket Summer has been referred to as a prodigy in past articles and interviews, but the mainstream's now used to Avary's fantastic piano-powered pop/rock blend. The melodies on Of Men and Angels, as with every other Rocket Summer release, merit front row seats on radio waves coast to coast, yet each song inhabits a depth rarely found in such territory. Each tune is both smart and sexy, a rare achievement for any songwriter in any genre.

The handclaps and ideal piano progression on "Hills and Valleys" reminds of a summery Jon McLaughlin. Lead single "Walls" conjures comparisons to Augustana at their finest. "Nothing Matters" changes instruments (to acoustic guitar) but reserves the album's pop power. "Tara, I'm Terrible" provides a tender look into his relationship with longtime love and wife Tara.

Avary always provides fans with quantity as well as quality and the 15 tracks on Of Men and Angels continue the trend. The beauty of The Rocket Summer is that there's rarely a misstep along the way and this latest release is another fine release in such a promising catalog. -Matt Conner

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from Click here to visit today!

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Music Review: Of Men And Angels | Posted March 23, 2010
By Brian Hall & Kyle Kiekintveld


Brian Hall’s Review:

Bryce Avary, better known as The Rocket Summer, has been the biggest one-man-show on the punk/pop scene (Christian or otherwise) for many years now. Since his last record released three years ago, Avary has been busy touring all over the world be it on the Vans Warped Tour, UK tours, Japanese tours, or selling out shows all over the US and Canada. He has even taken other major bands like Paramore, the Plain White T’s and All Time Low along with him as opening acts. With three other full length records under his belt, The Rocket Summer releases Of Men and Angels, a wondrous blend of “bubblegum” pop and alternative rock styling that packs as much bite as it does joy.

The topics of faith and hope are center stage here, which is clearly evident from the rousing opening track “Roses”. Infectious phrasing and hooks also saturate the album. “Japanese Exchange Student” is one such example. Dealing with issues like loneliness while avoiding not only clichés but also despair, can be a difficult thing, but the song approaches it with a sense of humor and respect and easily succeeds. Other tracks that deal with tricky themes, all while staying optimistic are plentiful; “I Want A Break… But I’d Rather Have A Breakthrough” and “Walls” are excellent examples. The impressive title track is a prayerful, self-denying plea for God to hold him near during the hard times. Other standouts are, “Tara, I’m Terrible”, (a touching song about his wife) “Nothing Matters”, “Hey”, (including some random but fun beat-boxing from Avary) “Nothing Matters” and “Hills And Valleys.”

All in all, Of Men and Angels is an excellent record. While it may not be as universally addictive as fellow one-man-band, Adam Young’s (aka. Owl City) music, it is still a catchy and happy record that is perfect for blaring in your car as you cruise down the road, or providing a middle of the day pick-me-up. This album is well worth your time (clocking in with 15 songs!) and money. Be sure to catch TRS live if he stops in a town near you.

Kyle Kiekintveld’s Review:

Of Men and Angels is an album that isn’t polished smooth with autotune, it isn’t overly complicated by effects it was left simple and organic by design. The subject matter at first feels a bit immature but it will quickly win listeners over by never being fake or overly pretentious but being completely honest.

“Let You Go” is an example of the simplicity and the heart wrenching honesty of the album. It is a honest love stricken song that keeps the listener smiling and nodding to the wonderful piano and guitar beat. It is just picture perfect, just light enough to be enjoyable but lyrically it is heavy enough to be captivating.

Of Men and Angels offers listeners a rare high quality album that isn’t filler songs polished into a full length album but what could legitimately be a collection of singles, each song is completely radio worthy. This album lacks anything that would identify it as being a mass produced work, despite it’s major label ties it feels very much like a labor of love.

Of Men and Angels is a great album. It swings smoothly from hyper happy go lucky infectious to mellow and melodic without losing any momentum. It is an album that forces head nodding and toe tapping with callous disregard for what others may thing. It is a supremely enjoyable album that everyone should listen to at least once.

Authors Note: The Rocket Summer’s lead singer, Stephen Bryce Avary has truly arrived with this release and listeners will be tempted to go and look up his entire discography. This album is that good.

Review copy provided courtesy of Island Def Jam Music Group

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit today!

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username2 (375)

A Rocket Summer album that speaks to everyone. | Posted June 02, 2012
 The 4th album from Bryce Avary's solo project The Rocket Summer, Of Men and Angels, manages to show off the talent that Bryce possess lyrically and musically.  Every song sounds great and you can tell that he is learning more and more every album.  Speaking of lyrics, this album manages to be his most spiritual one yet as there are many songs about broken lives and what can be done to fix them.  It's great to see songs like those being heard by a mainstream audience (Bryce is signed to mainstream label Island Records who have been home to many mainstream bands like Fall Out Boy, Bon Jovi, and Theory of a Deadman,) and I hope they can identify with those songs.  

Of Men and Angels contains everything that makes a Rocket Summer album good but also contains some of Bryce Avery's most spiritual and honest lyrics to date.  

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GREAT CD!!! | Posted August 21, 2010
Track Listing
01) Roses
02) You Gotta Believe
03) Hills and Valleys
04) I Want Something to Live For
05) Walls
06) Pull Myself Together (Don’t Hate Me)
07) Of Men and Angels
08) I Need a Break But I’d Rather Have a Breakthrough
09) Nothing Matters
10) Japanese Exchange Student
11) Tara, I’m Terrible
12) Hey!
13) Let You Go
14) This is a Refuge
15) Light

this is one of the best CDs of all time. I love the way Bryce writes songs that show deep feelings but he's still very optimistic. He has a very original sound too, and he's very talented, doing all the vocals and instruments on the CD.

The first track, Roses, is about how we have doubts but we continue on in our pursuit of Christ, even through the troubles and pain. I love these lyrics "Keep holding on, all I got is holding on these roses, the thorns keep on digging but my soul believes...I see! And it's reminding me that the thorns you wear is love that we must share." Very powerful.

"You Gotta Believe" is the second track on the album. Bryce had a contest of sorts for fans to be in the video. It's very cool, check it out :). The song itself is a tell off to everyone who thinks they know everything and are always telling other people that they're doing it wrong. Normally, songs like this tend to be disrespectful and arrogant themselves, but Bryce cleverly and humbly writes the right words for this.

The third song is "Hills and Valleys". I'm not 100% positive about this, but I believe it's about Bryce missing his wife, Tara, while he's out touring and how he wants to take her with him. I know that now she goes with him and sells his merch, so maybe the song worked ;).

"I Want Something to Live For", as the fifth track, is a great song about how we go through times in our walk where we don't feel as passionate for Christ as we did before, and how we want that drive back.

The sixth track, and only single, of this CD is "Walls". This is a very moving and encouraging song about how in the midst of our depression and addictions, we can call out and reach out to God and He'll be there to help us through whatever is going on. This song is very powerful, teaching us to trust in God even when things don't make sense and we feel alone.

The next track is "Pull Myself Together (Don't Hate Me)". Probably the poppiest song on this LP, it's about how people can change and how alot of us are different from what we used to be. But it's still hard for me to get past what you were, and you're trying to convince them you're different, and to not hate you for the past. To give you a second chance.

The title track for this CD starts off with an amazingly beautiful piano intro. This song has the message of the whole CD contained in it's word- love. We all need it and whatever we do means nothing if we don't have it. I also like the other message in this song. In the chorus Bryce sings "look, here I am dear Lord tasting hints of fame. I don't want it anymore if it's not you that I gain. Wanna fall at your feet, don't wanna fall from your peace." I love that Bryce really has the right motives in mind with the music he makes.

"I Need a Break...But I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough" is the next song. An amazing anthem about how sometimes we feel completely overwhelmed and tired with the fight we are always in but realizing that we need a breakthrough in our lives more than we need a rest from spiritual warfare.

The intro to the next song, "Nothing Matters", is so catchy! I mention that b/c it got my friend to like the song, and he never likes anything I like, so for that I was glad :P. This song is amazing! It's about how nothing matters but love and we should act on that. Really powerful.

This next song I'm not too sure about. It's called "Japanese Exchange Student". I used to be addicted to it when the CD first came out but now I don't like it too much. The words are ok, but idk. What it's about is cool )how everyone only pays attention to other people if they think they can get something out of it) but I guess I just don't like the last bit where Bryce sings "I love the Japanese, and those from Japan and over seas. I love the Japanese do you love the Japanese and those from Japan and over seas?" it's just a little weird.

"Tara, I'm Terrible" is a really sweet song for his wife, Tara. I really like the mainly acoustic sound. It's cool :).

"Hey!" is actually a loop song he plays at concerts and finally recorded for a CD. It's really catchy and has a great message.

The next track, "Let You Go", is about how sometimes you have to let go of people in your life and let them pursue other things and people. We should still wish them the best, even though it's hard and we don't want to do it. This song I really felt personally, like alot of the others.

I think "This Is a Refuge" is about how our home is in the Lord and we're safe and protected in Him. Very catchy and good.

The last song, "Light", is another really good one. I especially love the bridge
"I am yours, do what you wish
I am yours, I am yours and I know this
Whatever happens next is in your hands, in your plans
Nothing less
In everything there is a choice
Through the joy, through the pain I will rejoice
I am yours, do what you wish
I am yours, I am yours and I know this"
I love the complete confidence that Bryce has in Christ.

So overall, this is an AMAZING CD. Go and buy it. Now. Yes you. :P

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TRS makes another awesome CD! | Posted March 31, 2010
Bryce Avery is back with another CD of catchy tunes and lyrics. His instrumentation[because he plays all the instruments on the album except strins] is amazing. His lyrics are memorable[such as "I need a break...But I'd rather have a breakthrough"]. Although this is not as good as his last CD, "Do You Feel," it still is a very good CD and worth the money!

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Great Album, Once Again | Posted March 04, 2010
I really have enjoyed a lot of songs by Bruce Avery, and this album has the best ones he was ever made thus far. I am currently listening to "I Need a Break, but I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough" and I really love it. "Japanese Exchange Student" is an excellent song talking about being an unknown artist. "Hey!" is a bouncy one to listen to. All in all, all of these songs are good to listen to that make you want to sing along. And before long, you will be.

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Just got it | Posted February 26, 2010
I've listened to it one time all the way through, its good, but maybe after i listen to it more, i'll like it better :) I love this band though, i first heard them from a friend about a year ago.

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Good Album | Posted February 26, 2010
I listen to it and it was good. The lyrics are uplifting and can encourage you if are feeling down. I like the message but the this particular abulm just didn't do it for me personally. I think it was more of the type of music than the artist itself. I am more into rock and rap right now.

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bull42 (50)

Not Too Bad | Posted February 25, 2010
I have listened to this CD 3 times so far. This is the first time I have ever listened to anything by TRS.Overall it isn't bad.I enjoyed most of the songs.I listened with an open mind and I must confess I may be a new fan of TRS.His voice is not too bad and he is very talented if he plays all the instruments.
I'm glad to see he is from Texas like me.

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Superb Talent Running out of Inspiration, Judged Fairly | Posted February 25, 2010
The Rocket Summer, power-pop brainchild of DFW-based multi-instrumentalist Bryce Avary, has already released three albums of his sugary summertime pop with consistently wise and inspirational lyrics. The last album, 2007’s near masterpiece Do You Feel, was released by Island Def Jam Records and gave Avary the kind of attention he deserves: he writes and plays every instrument for his extraordinary songs. His new album, Of Men and Angels, is no different. In fact, there lies the problem.

When one man makes all the decisions and writes all the parts for his own music, he will undoubtedly be repeating himself. He has no outside influences or ideas to help him change or grow his music, so this man will start repeating his own ideas and songs. The Rocket Summer’s fourth album still contains the great sing-a-long anthems (“You Gotta Believe”), beautiful harmonies (“Something to Live For”), rocking guitars (“Roses”) and breath-taking layers of instrumentation (“Let You Go” and “Hills and Valleys”) that Avary’s fans have come to expect. But for all of those great songs, there are also songs like “Walls,” a ballad with a piano line uncomfortably similar to older songs, an inevitable build-up with violin flourishes, and the clichéd anti-depression refrain “I’ll help you break the walls down.”

Trying to balance moral righteousness with the life of a famous (and married) touring musician has given Avary plenty of strong stories to sing about, but even his lyrics have flaws. The album’s title track successfully shows Avary declining the life of fame, but “Japanese Exchange Student” tries to relate his popular image to the likes of Beyonce’, Paul McCartney, and Japanese students. A slight change of pace is “Tara, I’m Terrible,” an acoustic love song devoted to Avary’s wife, but the song probably should have stayed private because it doesn’t have the songwriting quality to deserve its spot on the album.

Avary’s talent will always be commendable for the fact that he can write four albums completely singlehandedly, but he needs to get some new help or start dabbling in new styles if he wants to keep his new music fresh. Otherwise, his large amount of talent will continue down a misled path toward redundancy and irrelevance.

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