The Rocket Summer

Do You Feel

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Now 24 years old and signed to Island Records, Bryce Avary found himself more suited than ever to bring his guitar-fueled power pop to the masses. 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. Avary continued to prove his mastery of piano-laced pop that sounded like a cross between Ben Folds, the Swift, and Relient K. His vocals remained in the Justin Timberlake/Michael Jackson range, which only seemed to increase his appeal. In addition to his unbelievable stage energy, Avary sang practically every note with an unparalleled passion. He also demonstrated his musical adeptness, once again writing and performing the entire album himself (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards). Lest anyone discredit Avary or his moniker, the Rocket Summer, for a lack of depth or diversity, first single "So Much Love" featured a horn section like that heard on Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. What further cemented the prodigy's likableness was how genuinely he shunned the rock star life (see "High Life Scenery" for a scathing portrayal of the celeb lifestyle) and how much he preferred to spread the gospel of love ("Break It Out," "Hold It Up," "Waiting," for starters). In other words, practically everything about the Rocket Summer and this major-label debut album would impress any critic.

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