Bryce Avary (aka the Rocket Summer) self-released his first EP at 16, and as its 1,000 copies inevitably sold out, the record fell out of print. Enter The Militia Group, which has now rectified this situation by culling those five tracks together for a reissue via The Early Years EP. This release is untouched from the original form recorded in 1999 that first (and understandably) brought regional attention to the Rocket Summer, save for new packaging and a bonus track ("She's a Seven" first appeared on the Japanese version of 2003's Calendar Days). The songs were all written around when Avary was 14-16 years old, and even though his age certainly shows, the EP still attests that his talent was well in place from day one. As with many releases of early material, this EP is targeted directly to the already established fan base, but unlike most records of the sort, this is actually a largely accessible collection of songs that isn't a chore to get through. Avary recorded this himself (not to mention, of course, wrote and played everything), so it's quite impressive how warm and listenable these tracks are with their homespun production. His wide-eyed exuberance and youthful charm shine brightly through the record's rough edges, adding character and heart to what could otherwise be any local emo/indie rock release. "That's What She Said" and "Teenage Love Rock" are highlights on an EP that, while not totally essential, is very much a worthwhile addition to any Rocket collection.
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AllMusic Review by Corey Apar