With a title plucked from a Bible verse on the necessity of love, it comes as no surprise that the Rocket Summer’s fourth full-length album, Of Men and Angels, is almost relentlessly positive and uplifting. With Bryce Avary at the helm of most every instrument on the album, as well as acting as producer, the music is what fans of the recording have come to expect from the talented singer/songwriter. Avary’s Michael Jackson-esque voice soars high over sunny power pop riffs, giving the listener a nice respite from the half-sung/half-screamed vocals that seemed to have fully infiltrated the world of emo rock. There are also plenty of singalong choruses to sink your teeth into, with songs like “You Gotta Believe” and “I Need a Break…But I’d Rather Have a Breakthrough” inviting the listener to be an active participant in Avary’s own brand of infectious pop. What’s really remarkable about the album is the subject matter. Older and more mature, Avary manages to muse about the pressures and joys of fame and success without feeling overly whiney, allowing the listener to get inside the head of an artist who seems genuinely thankful for everything his fans have helped him achieve while being fully aware that there’s more to life than music. All told, Of Men and Angels is another fine outing from the Rocket Summer. While it will definitely give old fans more insight into the mind of Bryce Avary, it should also be a good fit for anyone looking for some easily accessible, sunny-yet-introspective alt rock to sing along to.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney