It's pretty safe to say that Bryce Avary is no longer a kid. The same spiky-haired teenager who belted out "Brat Pack" is now in his twenties and selling out entire tours in multiple continents. Highlighting his 2010 album is the You Gotta Believe EP, which contains three songs from the full-length as well as an added bonus track. As always, Avary played all instruments on the EP and calls the forthcoming release "the most substance-filled Rocket Summer album to date."
Right away, You Gotta Believe proves itself to be pop music with class. Avary's short stint with loud horn sections seems to be absent from the recording, and with good result-- guitar takes center stage on this group of songs. The title track is a fast-paced party of a song, featuring catchy lyrics and deft piano. The addictive-but-serious "Hills and Valleys" is up next, followed by a poignant "Light" ("Every day, there is a choice... and through the joy, through the pain, I will rejoice"). The iTunes bonus track titled "The Fight" concludes the EP on a relatively high note, putting an intense orchestral arrangement in latter half of the song.
In short, You Gotta Believe is rather brief. With the small selection of songs in the EP, it's not easy to see where Avary is going with his new record. However, it doesn't take an, um, rocket scientist to see that You Gotta Believe is a marker of growth in both age and musical confidence. And, of course, it's just a downright fun listen. While Avary still has the occasionally immaturity that made his music popular, he is light years away from the "Brat Pack" days. At this rate, he'll be a music legend by his thirtieth birthday.- Review date: 2/8/10, written by Garrett DeRossett of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Island Records
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