When andPOP first met the Click Five in the summer, their first single, ?Just The Girl,? was climbing steadily up the pop charts and the quintet spoke confidently about their upcoming debut album, Greetings From Imrie House.
?It?s a party in a package,? exclaimed keyboardist Ben Romans. It?s a party alright ? for 12-year olds. An album this cheesy hasn?t been released in a long time, and one question that you will undoubtedly find yourself asking as you listen to the record is, ?Are they serious??
Greetings From Imrie House opens with ?Good Day,? a peppy pop anthem that sounds like it was ripped off from either ABBA or a bad musical. It?d be a perfect theme song for a feel-good Disney flick starring Lizzie McGuire. But if you?re not a fan of Hilary Duff nor nostalgic for the disco era of the ?70s, you won?t be able to hit the skip button on your stereo fast enough.
However, the Click Five can?t be faulted for their over-the-top sweetness ? this is exactly what they were going for. They label themselves as ?new school power pop? and what they have to offer is dead on target ? strong, tried and true melodies, solid harmonies, and infectious guitar riffs.
The 11-track album borrows from some of the biggest power pop acts of the last few decades. The breezy and way too cute ?Catch Your Wave? makes you want to break out an atlas and resume that search for Kokomo, while ?Lies? is a decent cover of the Thompson Twins hit from the ?80s.
Even the corny lyrics should be expected as often, that?s what pop is about. (But a line like ?I?ll be your shopping mall? in track seven, ?Resign,? should really be reconsidered.)
It can?t be denied that the Click Five are talented, and they even have guest appearances by respected names in rock (Elliot Easton of The Cars on ?I?ll Take My Chances? and ?Angel to You (Devil to Me),? which was co-written by Paul Stanley of Kiss) to prove it.
For that reason, there is no question that Greetings From Imrie House will be lapped up by power pop fans both young and old. While pre-teen girls will undoubtedly swoon over the Click Five thanks to their boy-next-door looks, the band is also 2005?s answer to the Bee Gees and moms will love them for it. As for the rest of us ? well, the Click Five might just be the guilty pleasure of the year.
Release Date: August 16, 2005
1. Good Day
2. Just The Girl
3. Catch Your Wave
4. I?ll Take My Chances
5. Friday Night
6. Angel to You (Devil to Me)
8. Pop Princess
9. Time Machine
11. Say Goodnight
It may have been premature to release a greatest hits album while still a teenager, but Hilary Duff’s move paid off.
Her “Most Wanted” album, a collection of hits plus new material, debuted at number one on this week’s Billboard charts. The album sold over 200,000 copies.
Staind’s “Chapter V,” last week’s chart topper, dropped to seventh.
Somehow Mariah Carey is still selling copies of her album, “The Emancipation of Mimi.” The album sold another 109,000 copies this week, earning her spot number three. The album was released 19 weeks ago.
Right in front of her at number two is Brad Paisley and his “Time Well Wasted” album.
The Click Five debuted at 15 with “Greetings From Imrie House.”
The Click Five are a bit of a paradox. First off, they seem like a blast from the past. With their retro hairstyles and matching suits, they look more like the Beatles than today’s typical tattooed rock stars. Second, they are an undeniably sugary-sweet pop band, with catchy tunes that tell their growing legions of female fans they’re “just the girl I’m looking for.”
But make no mistake ? they are no boy band. The members of the Click Five each play their own instruments, they perform no cheesy dance moves on stage, and their debut album, “Greetings from Imrie House,” boasts guest appearances from some pretty big names in rock, including Paul Stanley of Kiss, and Elliot Easton of the Cars.
“Kiss changed my life,” enthuses keyboardist Ben Romans, who along with bass player Ethan Mentzer, guitarist Joe Guese, lead singer Eric Dill, and drummer Joey Zehr form the Click Five. “Paul Stanley came to our show last summer; then we went to their show. Somehow I ended up going to L.A., to Paul Stanley’s house, to write ‘Angel to You, Devil to Me,’ which is a track on our album.”
It’s clear that the memory still astounds Romans himself, emphasizing just how new the band is to the music scene. There is no air of rock star arrogance surrounding the Click Five yet and they don’t seem as jaded as so many musicians appear to be. It’s not such a surprise ? after all, the band was formed only two years ago, but already they’ve played packed amphitheatres and music halls opening for Ashlee Simpson and now, the Backstreet Boys. The boys from Boston, Mass., all in just their early 20s, seem to have catapulted to success almost overnight.
But bassist Mentzer maintains that where they are now is the product of hard work and determination. “We were really driven to do something and hopefully become really successful with it,” says the graduate of Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music, speaking to andPOP before their show in Toronto. Each of his bandmates, except for Dill, attended Berklee, which lists dozens of prominent musicians ? including John Mayer and Diana Krall ? among its alumni. “We set a lot of small goals and just took things a step at a time,” Mentzer adds.
Of course, getting to know the right people also helped. With the assistance of the music director at Boston radio station Kiss 108, the Click Five was invited to play a big show with Simpson, where they got noticed by several interested record labels.
Their first album will be released Tuesday. “Greetings from Imrie House is “a collection of all of our influences, from Buddy Holly to Fountains of Wayne ? of all the great power pop of the last century,” describes Guese, the guitarist. “We just try to put a new twist on it and try to update it. We want to bring it to a younger generation that maybe has never heard it yet.”
That’s right ? power pop. The band makes no apologies for their bubblegum tunes and doesn’t try to hide behind a faux-rock label. In the last few years, the word “pop” has developed an unfortunate stigma attached to it, with critics being all but murderous when it comes to reviewing pop acts. For the Click Five, it’s no big deal.
“I don’t think we’re scared of being labelled power pop or wanting to shy away from that,” says Guese. “That’s what all of our influences are, and that’s what we want to be.”
In Mentzer’s opinion, pop is a big umbrella to fall under, and there is a marked difference between the Click Five and, say, Britney Spears.
“You can lump anything into the category of pop that has a form, as far as the way it was written and something that can be played on the radio,” he explains. “We like good songs and well-written songs. So I don’t look at pop as a negative thing at all. I think the more people we can appeal to by being pop, it’s going to be a good thing.”
Their first single, “Just The Girl” (written by Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger) is definitely one of those radio-friendly songs, with catchy riffs and a chorus that just refuses to get out of your head. The rest of the album promises more of the same. “We’re trying to bring melody back,” says Romans. “There’s loud guitars, there’s harmony, but even more importantly, this is a really positive album. I don’t think we’re afraid to put a really happy album out there. It’s a party in a package.”
This summer, they’re taking that party out on the road for their first big tour with the Backstreet Boys, where they’re being introduced to pyrotechnics (in the Backstreet show), and ? what they’re most excited about ? their first tour bus. “We just came from a minivan. It’s pretty amazing to suddenly be sleeping and back here writing songs and up there watching TV,” says Romans. “It’s awesome.”
And if the show later that night was any indication, they’re doing a pretty good job of warming up the crowd. Gaining new fans along the way should be a piece of cake, with their energetic performance (their cover of Tommy James’ “I Think We’re Alone Now” got almost everyone up and dancing) and slick outfits ? identical black and blue suits.
“The suits help make us memorable and identifiable,” says Mentzer. “It’s a really solid, unifying kind of look.” Plus, he adds jokingly, “I think a lot of moms feel a little more relieved to see guys in suits rather than guys in clown masks and tattoos.”
Meanwhile, the band is continuing to refine the sound they first developed at Berklee by making use of all the experience they’ve garnered so far playing to live audiences daily.
“I think the most important education you can get for writing, music, and creativity is live,” Romans observes. “You can learn the book, but at some point you have to put the book on the shelf and realize that imagination comes before logic.”