CD Review of Modern Minds and Pastimes by The Click Five
Recommended if you like
Fountains of Wayne, Farrah, McFly
Lava / Atlantic
The Click Five:
Modern Minds and Pastimes

Reviewed by Will Harris


n 2005, the Click Five released their bouncy debut album, Greetings from Imrie House, and picked up two distinct audiences the moment they left the gate: the power pop fans, most of whom discovered the album because Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) had a hand in writing two songs on the record, and the teenaged girls, who just thought the band was cute. It’s sad but true that the former audience is pretty well negligible when it comes to sales figures, but the latter helped Imrie House sprint to #15 on the Billboard album chart, thanks to the powerhouse first single, “Just the Girl.”

So how did they decide to follow it up? Why, by replacing their lead singer, of course. Talk about killing your momentum stone dead!

Naturally, the remaining members of the band tried to keep things polite and diplomatic when discussing the departure of Eric Dill, quickly moving off that topic and on to praising Dill’s replacement, Kyle Patrick. The reality of the matter, though, is that Dill’s voice, while slightly reedy at times, had a unique sound that helped the Click Five stand out from their peers; as a result, Patrick comes off as comparatively faceless, and given that you can’t turn around without finding the latest bunch of cute boys with a catchy pop-rock single, the last thing any band needs is an anonymous-sounding frontman.

But let’s hold up on bashing the new guy for a moment – sorry, dude, it’s nothing personal; we’re just telling it like it is – and give credit where credit is due: “Jenny,” the first single from the band’s new album, Modern Minds and Pastimes, handily matches the catchiness of anything from Imrie House, with a chorus so wonderful that the song’s destined to end up on the “Best Singles of 2007” list for many a power pop fan. In fact, though Modern Minds may not have the giddy immediacy of its predecessor, it would be wholly inaccurate to suggest that it’s not still filled with plenty of enjoyable tunes; “I’m Getting Over You” and “Happy Birthday” are highly single-worthy, and though “Headlight Disco” and “Addicted to Me” are a bit heavy-handed in their slavish ‘80s-ness, they still make for a fun listen. Additionally, while the band hasn’t abandoned the concept of performing outside co-writes, they’ve opted to go with one who’s a little less high-profile: Jez Ashurst of the band Farrah, who’ve been responsible for some of the best power pop to emerge from the UK in recent years. Unfortunately, Modern Minds is decidedly top-heavy, falling too deep into ballad mode for its second half, and an underwhelming ending to an album often leaves listeners forgetting how just much they enjoyed the beginning.

Given the major change in their line-up, the Click Five did pretty well with their sophomore effort; even with a less memorable vocalist, the songs themselves are way too strong to this to be considered a slump, and after a few spins, Modern Minds and Pastimes is likely to win over even those who prefer “the old guy.” Still, it’s definitely not as good as its predecessor, which means that listeners will probably find themselves just as prepared to check out Eric Dill’s solo career as they will be to follow the further adventures of the Click Five.

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