Armed with boyish good looks, matching suits, and enough hooks to make 'N Sync blush, The Click Five roared out of Boston in late August with a debut album that shocked the industry by becoming the highest-charting debut by a new rock act this year.
"Greetings from Imrie House" sold more than 50,000 copies during its first week and conjured images of bubble-gum boy bands and guitar-based pop-rockers alike. Translation: Teen girls will love it, and their moms and dads, too, may be buying tickets to The Click Five's tour, which kicked off this week.
The quintet, all under age 25, includes four alums from Boston's prestigious Berklee School of Music. Members actually write songs and play instruments with superb economy, removing the Svengali syndrome so many music fans find off-putting with most boy bands.
"The sound is purely pop with a rock lean," says Kid Kelly, senior director of music programming at Sirius Satellite Radio. "People talk about [how they look], but what caught our attention was their sound. It's pop with rock guitar and a bit of thunder to it." Mr. Kelly says lead single "Just the Girl" has proved popular on several Sirius stations, demonstrating its versatility.
When they aren't writing their own songs, the band taps into a wide array of talent. Adam Schlesinger, the Fountains of Wayne scribe behind such pop confections as "Stacy's Mom," penned "Just the Girl." Other contributors on "Imrie House" include Elliot Easton, the former guitarist of The Cars, and Paul Stanley of Kiss. Mr. Stanley saw the group perform a cover version of his band's "Detroit Rock City" and offered Click Five members an invitation to work together in a songwriting session. That collaboration resulted in "Angel to You (Devil to Me)," an irresistible guitar-heavy pop anthem.
"Imrie House" concentrates on boy-loses-girl angst, pausing only for occasional bouts of boy-meets-girl joy. (Bruce Springsteen need not cede his lyrical supremacy just yet.) The band pulls off a smirk-free cover of the Thompson Twins' "Lies."
Each copy of the CD includes a band member bubble-gum card, making them an easy target for doubters to dub them a bubble-gum act. It doesn't help that recent touring gigs included opening slots for Ashlee Simpson and the Backstreet Boys.
Lead singer Eric Dill shrugs off the critics. "The difference with us is, where people might think a boy band is not very valid because maybe they just dance and have background music or play to a track, you can't really go there with us," he says. "Because we play our instruments and we sing. We're like a rock band. The things that are negative about [boy bands] don't apply to us. The positive things, being decent-looking guys - if people want to call us that - then that's good."
• For upcoming tour dates, go to www.theclickfive.com/newsite/events5.php