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— by Chris Harris, with additional reporting by Joseph Patel

Make no mistake about it: Boston's Click Five are on a mission.

Employing the same tried-and-tested formula forged during the '80s by fellow Beantown boy-band bravados New Kids on the Block, the five Berklee College of Music graduates have identified their unlikely target audience: screaming tweens who relate to tales of heartbreak. And now, the pop-wise quintet's doing what it can to cultivate a rabid following with those crush-prone preteens.

"What we are trying to do is make girls jump up and down on a bed and have pillow fights and, you know, drive to the beach in a convertible and break up with their boyfriends," singer/keyboardist Ben Romans said.

The group's approach seems to be working. Despite being virtual industry unknowns, Click Five — with their sloppy mop tops and penchant for matching suits — were asked to join pop princess Ashlee Simpson on the road as the supporting act for her most recent U.S. tour. They'll also spend four nights in the Midwest next week warming up crowds before Aaron Carter takes the stage.

All of this without a radio single or a full-length album on store shelves. ("Just the Girl" will hit the airwaves next month, and the band's Lava Records debut, Greetings From Imrie House, will drop August 2.)

Perhaps it was working with Kiss' Paul Stanley, who co-wrote the track "Angel to You (Devil to Me)," that got them noticed. Maybe the fact that Mike Deneen (Fountains of Wayne, Aimee Mann) produced their debut helped. Either way, validation has come for Click Five in the form of popularity. The band managed to sell more than 10,000 copies of its EP while on the road, so the guys must be doing something right.

"We describe [Greetings From Imerie House] as the love album," Romans said. "It has everything that comes with it. We want to make people feel like they are falling in love and being heartbroken with us all at the same time."

For the record, Click Five argue that their sound is far from pop, as the term's commonly understood.

"People hear the word 'pop' and they think Britney Spears," said drummer Joey Zehr. "I think we are taking it more from, like, the Beatles being called a pop band. As in, like, popular music."

"Pop, but easily palatable," singer/rhythm guitarist Eric Dill added. "We want to get other people excited. We want to make it a party and bring everyone together. That's what this is all about and that's why it's so much fun, because people get into it with you."

At first, Click Five's sound didn't go over too well with Boston's unforgiving audiences. The city's home to a punk-rock underground that dominates the smaller live clubs where up-and-coming bands like Click Five are always trying to land gigs.

"Everyone is kind of critical," Zehr said before being interrupted by bassist Ethan Mentzer: "It's a rock town, so us being a pop band, we didn't necessarily fit into the 21-and-over rock clubs."

Whether by accident or not, Click Five, in their attempt to gain a pre-pubescent female audience, have even started winning over a fair share of frisky — and at times, overzealous — soccer moms.

"We signed a 45-year-old stomach," Mentzer explained.

"We go after the show and sign, and it's gotten a little crazy," Zehr said. "So they have to cut the line and there tends to be some pretty mad moms, so you get to see some good mom-on-mom fighting."


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 "Just A Girl"
Greetings From Imerie House
(Lava/Atlantic)
   Photo: Lava


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