The wise Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” That’s what it feels like listening to the Rocket Summer’s sixth full-length, Zoetic. The 11-track album passes by so quickly that it’s difficult to take it all in after one listen. Even with the second run through, it takes concentration to warm up to the songs and grasp what Avary has built—a powerful collection of songs that surpasses all of his previous releases in power and musical finesse.
From the first note of album opener “Cold War,” it’s evident that Zoetic is a very different release from the Rocket Summer. Known mostly for piano-driven pop tracks, Avary introduces industrial and electronic elements to this new set of songs. But no fear: The piano is still present, it’s just been integrated into louder, more aggressive tones.
“Same Air,” the first single, sounds the most similar to old TRS releases. Avary wrote the track years ago, but the message still rings true today. When he sings, “The same air we all are breathing, one shared pulse collectively beating,” Avary makes a strong commentary on the fact that we all have the same air pumping through our lungs, keeping us alive. He’s always had a way of sending out a message bigger than himself and adequately accomplishes this on Zoetic with “Same Air” as well as “Sharks,” the latter of which is seemingly made up of Avary singing “today” over and over. The lyric, “Why would I wanna go back or worry about what the future holds when I could just take in today?” has a way of reminding listeners to be still and take life one day at a time.
Even though the songs on Zoetic were written and recorded over the course of years, it sounds as if Avary sat down and busted them out in one session. There’s a sense of urgency that fills many of the tracks with swelling intensity. This urgency can be felt in moments like the abrasive “Wow!” that echoes in the background of “White Fireworks.” By far, the most jostling track is “Rule Of Thirds Kind Of Life.” There’s a unique juxtaposition between the chaotic verses that lead into the rhythmic chorus with Avary’s aggressive vocal delivery bringing an interesting dynamic to the track.
Though there are many new sounds and loud instruments featured on Zoetic, the most prominent instrument is Avary’s voice. Whether he’s softly serenading the listener on “You Are, You Are” or belting out the chorus on “FL, CA,” Avary sounds more impressive than ever. The songs, which sound alive, explosive and sonically refreshing, welcome the Rocket Summer back into the public eye and show just how creative he can be musically while still staying true to himself.