The Rocket Summer is the brainchild of 22-year old Bryce Avary. The talented Avary is the only band member, and plays every instrument on the album. Some listeners may already be familiar with The Rocket Summer. His previous album, Calendar Days released last year, and Hello, Good Friend was released to the mainstream earlier this year. Now the Christian music industry can have their taste of this talented young man.
Hello, Good Friend opens with "Move To The Other Side Of The Block," which begins as a soft piano ballad. The song later breaks into piano-driven rock, which defines most of the album. "I Was So Alone" continues into a stronger pace. "Around The Clock" fits the same theme of "I Was So Alone," serving as tender love songs.
"I'm Doing Everything For You" is a guitar-driven rock tune, serving as the most obvious love song, where Avary sings about romance. "Never Knew" starts as a slow piano ballad, but builds into a strong rock song. The album title comes from the lyrics, "So hello, good friend, I wanna be next to you / For my head for my heart for its true." With more of a look at the lyrics, it's obvious this is more worship oriented. "Never Knew" contains depth than your usual worship song, and definitely an album highlight.
Another highlight is "Brat Pack." In this piano-driven pop song Avary sings, "But its like were our own brat pack / Were always kickin back nobody can take that / That is that it's like its all we have." He sings about the frustration of town life, and enjoying friendship, fitting well thematically with the album's title.
"Treasures" is slower paced, and talks about storing our treasures in heaven. Throughout the song, he sings about people searching for treasure. At the song's conclusion, he implies that the only treasure can be found in heaven. "Story" is a rock song about the problems with pride. He encourages the listener to be real, and to stop trying to live life on top. Lyrically, this song touches on some real truth.
"Destiny" is about living for others, implying that he's telling someone to live for more than their self. He seems to have a bit of fun at the end of the song, and even pokes fun at an ever-so famous commercial with his lyrics "Can you hear me / Can you hear me now."
"Christmas Present" is the longest song on the album, with a nearly 4-minute instrumental intro. The song is a love song about the most perfect day of the year. A worshipful hidden track follows, where he confesses "'Cause take a look / I'm so drunk stupid and worthless / For some Jesus you feel / 'Cause that's real." As the song closes, he sings of the good news that the world will one day be renewed from its sin.
Hello, Good Friend is an excellent album. It's definitely a new sound for Christian music, and is a breath of fresh air, as it contains a good mix of worship and mainstream-friendly songs. This is a great album for music fans that are searching for a new artist to listen to. Some may need to listen to it a few times to get used his vocals, but they definitely grow on you. Part of the amazement of the album is simply the fact that Bryce played all the instruments himself. This certainly isn't the talent you find every day, and it's a rare treat.- Review date: 7/22/05, written by Brett Wier
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