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The Rocket Summer: Do You Feel

C-

The Rocket Summer

Album: Do You Feel
Label: Island

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After releasing two mildly successful indie albums, lead Rocket Summer songwriter Bryce Avary signed to the same major label as Fall Out Boy. And in 2005, along with a string of corporate handlers, he began trying to replicate the pop-star status that has thus far only greeted him in Japan, perhaps because the infectious mall-emo sing-alongs and delicate indie-pop guitars of his 2003 debut, Calendar Days, were often too unfocused to truly move the stateside masses.

That problem still plagues Do You Feel, only now, Avary has a much larger budget to work with. Throughout, he churns out slick radio rock, but crowds things out with jumpy piano lines and cornball saxophones. He also gets awkwardly earnest: On the particularly messy "So Much Love," he declares, "You've got so much love in you / I'm amazed that I'm talking to you." Yikes. Consider this another reason why he might continue to strike a chord with fans who don't actually speak English.