It sounds like a familiar record-industry gimmick: Find a bunch of good-looking young dudes, dress them in suits, hook them up with pop-rock stalwarts and voilà — replace the outdated boy-band dance music of the '90s with timely, tween-friendly guitar pop. Oh, and make sure there's a "the" in the name.
On paper, The Click Five might fit this description. They're photogenic lads with obvious sartorial flair, and their first single (the irresistible "Just the Girl") was penned by wizardly tunesmith Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne/"That Thing You Do"). Oh, and they're touring with The Backstreet Boys.
But here's the thing: They're a real band, and their debut album, Greetings From Imrie House (Lava Records), is a giddy treat.
According to their press packet, the Boston-based quintet lived in a house on Imrie Street in Beantown while writing the record and attending the prestigious Berklee School of Music. Their musical chops are obvious on the disc, which, thanks to producer Mike Deneen, revives
While older players may have mastered the form of power pop, younger artists are sometimes more in touch with its hormonal spirit.the candied-thunder sonics of classic discs by The Cars (whose brilliant lead guitarist, Elliot Easton, shows up on a few tracks), The Knack, Cheap Trick and Nick Gilder. Even KISS frontman Paul Stanley chips in on a song. But The Click Five are also fine songwriters — so much so that it's almost a shame that Schlesinger's nifty anthem will make their first impression.
Imrie is solid fun from start to finish and a reminder that while older players may have mastered the form of power pop, younger artists are sometimes more in touch with its hormonal spirit. Singer-guitarist Eric Dill exhibits both power and vulnerability, and his bandmates (notably guitarist Joe Guese and keyboardist Ben Romans) invest the songs with aching harmonies, charming riffs and genuine zeal. Tracks like "Pop Princess," "Resign" and the luscious power ballad "I'll Take My Chances" (co-written with Schlesinger) made me feel 16 again. In a good way.