Rocket Summer Hello, Good Friend

The Rocket Summer is the project of one man: 22-year-old Bryce Avary. He does it all, from songwriting to playing all the instruments (although he did get some help with production this time), but Hello, Good Friend doesn’t sound like a bedroom recording by any means. His debut album, Calendar Days, was greeted with some decent reviews a couple of years ago, and this follow-up threatens to stroke his ego even more. Choosing the piano as the lead instrument on many of the songs will naturally bring up some comparisons to Ben Folds, although Avary doesn’t quite have Folds’ way with words. He does excel when it comes to tunes though and almost every song on Hello, Good Friend has that hum-ability factor right from the very first listen. While Avary isn’t exactly breaking any new ground here and by the end of 13 songs, his formula has gotten a little on the predictable side, but there’s no denying that he is very good at what he does. If you like your pop melodic with no pretensions then this might be an album for you. (Militia Group)