Of Men and Angels
It can be hard to keep things sounding simple and catchy while retaining an arresting edge, but Bryce Avary pulls it off on his fourth studio album on which he also played all the instruments and produced (with ample help from CJ Eiriksson). Like previous recordings, Of Men and Angels will inevitably get pegged as emo since the crux of the music falls closest to that category, but upon closer listen you can hear ‘90s indie-rock influences seeping in. Avary has stated that he digs bands like Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Jets To Brazil, which may account for why the triumphant “Roses” opens with melodically clamorous aplomb under Avary’s high tenor, which recalls Michael Jackson in more soulful moments and Geddy Lee during the rocking parts. Of Men and Angels's title was taken from a Bible passage about the necessity of love and each song resonates with uplifting and joyous themes. “You Gotta Believe” is an impassioned power pop song that’s nearly impossible to get out of your head while “Walls” bares a balladeer who can smith a tune that’s moving without being maudlin.