It must seem like an eternity since The Click Five shot to relative fame, supporting McFly and sliding easily into any American pre-teen film. They flirted with success, while plucking at the heartstrings of adolescents everywhere.
That skin has been well and truly shed. TCV, the second album to feature singer Kyle Patrick, has thrown the rhyming dictionaries out the window – choosing to replace them with soft synths, and a retro pop-rock sound.
The result is a fusion of all-American anthems with British pop ’n’ roll, topped with the merest traces of the band’s roots to keep their demographic appeal alive.
Opener “I Quit! I Quit! I Quit!” kicks the album off with a straightforward but effective guitar line, which builds into the verses and onwards.
Kyle Patrick’s vocals wander throughout the album, from the preacher-man style narratives of “Dancing After Midnight” to the more straightforward “Be In Love”. Maturity has taken control of The Click Five for this record – the clichés are long since gone, replaced by well-chiseled lyrics and melodies.
Of course, it’s important to remember that beneath it all The Click Five were once the archetypal boy-band. In this sense, fans of the Eric Dill era may feel let down, simply because the album isn’t so cheesy on the outside. Nonetheless, it retains a sense of fun and shouldn’t leave too many disappointed.
Unlike its predecessor, which highlighted a certain tension between Patrick’s introduction and the Eric Dill sound, TCV knows in which direction it is heading. It isn’t torn, it isn’t forcing the issue. It just is.
Synths play more than a token part on the album. While they may anonymously thicken things during “Way Back To You” they come into the foreground, and create an alluring sound matched only by another fine chorus.
Lyrically, the album is still leaving room for growth. Yes, the words and melodies feel less forced than in the past, but what The Click Five now need to do is to move away from the safe realms of love and wonder lost. Once they do that, their transformation into a mature pop-rock outfit will be complete.
I can’t help but like TCV. It may be the result of a lot of hard work, but it isn’t working too hard itself. Things seem natural and belonging, even down to the odd addition of extra vocal and guitar layers. It all just fits. A good result for The Click Five – a welcome return to form.