The Click Five - TCV Album Review
There is something inexplicable in the circular nature of pop culture; the more and more people are exposed to it's changing dynamic, the more they seem to reject it and head for the hills. By way of illustration, old bands used to split and then fade gradually from memory - and yet now Nirvana and The Beatles are bigger than ever. It's also yet to be fully explained why Robin Pecknold seems to have spent his Senior year at High School listening to Steeleye Span and The Mamas and The Papas, as opposed to say Jay-Z and The White Stripes.
For Kyle Patrick and the rest of The Click Five - that'll be Joe Guese, Ethan Mentzer, Ben Romans and Joey Zehr - inspiration is also drawn from America's musical past, but the vintage is slightly more recent than that of Crosby, Stills & Nash, with the quintet evidently having fallen in love instead with the likes of Tom Petty, Cheap Trick and The Cars. TCV is the band's third album, following not-so-hot on the heels of 2007's Modern Minds & Pastimes and it's 2005 predecessor Greetings From The Imrie House, the latter selling 350,000 copies in their home country and creating one of those weird bubbles of interest in the Far East similar to the one which the nano-successful Shampoo benefited from in the 90's.
Those salad days are now behind the Boston boys, but that doesn't mean that TCV lacks honey for Jack and Diane's of a certain age; opener I Quit ! I Quit I ! Quit ! with its strutting guitar chug, preening organ and familiar 4/4 chassis, is as quintessentially America in the eighties as ET and secretly funding right wing dictators. Following on, Fever For Shakin' mixes sixties ennui with Petty's muscular road-rock with some aplomb. So far, so blue collar retro-tastic.
But, there's always a but and you know it's coming. Songs about small towns, broken hearts and hitting the road are fine, but in many ways they are now what they always were; strictly American obsessions. Add to this the rigidly observed musical trappings and a sense of slightly uncomfortable DÃ©jÃ vu begins to creep in to TCV, so much so that obvious nods to the here and now like Nobody's Business end up sounding unintentionally contrived and awkward.
In the unlikely event that Patrick and Pecknold were comparing career notes, they'd almost certainly come to the conclusion that this is an era that few people seem to want to remember with much fondness. But by a freak accident of timing, TCV is certainly good for one thing. If your dad happens to have been born after 1966, then both he and you will probably enjoy watching him air guitar to the trad stylings of songs like Way Back To You and the cheese-laden Be In Love. It's either that or another pair of driving gloves. Andy Peterson