Rocky Loves Emily just wants to make you smile. They want you to laugh and jump and roll in the mud and sing along with them. When indie-pop is this unclouded and purely fun, that's generally the way to respond.
It was in some Detroit suburb in 2007 that these five pop unapologists declared a (friendly) war on insincerity. They armed themselves with guitars and set out for a completely honest take on indie-pop, so lacking in sarcasm it’s almost unsettling. They didn’t want to lie, to themselves or their audience, and the result is one of the most hedonistic and purely enjoyable sounds out there. It’s upbeat, catchy guitar music on an endless sugarhigh.
As if the ear-to-ear sincerity of Rocky Loves Emily wasn’t enough to set them apart, the five friends abandoned electronic components entirely for their debut release ‘Secrets Don’t Make Friends.’ It’s recorded live (and if it isn’t, it sounds like it), which is a big reason why their live shows get such praising feedback. Highlights come in the form of Brandon James Ellis’ relentlessly openhearted lyrics and theatric delivery. There are other gems but Ellis’ pseudo-silly vocal charisma is hard to forget.
It’s fair to say that Rocky Loves Emily might not hit home for everybody. Their focus on honest expression doesn’t really fit in with the subversion and subtlety of many of their peers. But if you’re willing to lobotomize yourself and plug in for a few tracks, you just might enjoy it.