This is one of three inaugural releases from the Good Charamel label, which was founded and is run by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac. Of the three initial releases, this debut effort from the Buffalo band Klear is probably the least distinctive and exciting. Boasting a singer who sounds something like a cross between Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas and, say, Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, Klear works in a similar heartland hard rock vein. That the band's sound is less than original doesn't really matter; great rock & roll doesn't have to be original. What it does need is hooks, and unless the band is using irony as a schtick, it needs to sound genuine. Klear is a little bit short on hooks and singer Fred Shafer has a tendency to force his already-gruff voice into paroxysms of emotion that often sound more contrived than sincere. That's not to say that there aren't some powerful moments here -- "Bridge Song," in particular, is a genuinely affecting slab of guitar rock heavyosity and deserves serious airplay. And a few others would be more enjoyable if it weren't for annoying and distracting quirks -- check out "Firefly," for example, on which Shafer can't seem to stop referring to the object of his affection as "mama" and telling her to "shake it." (Please, Fred, you're creeping out everyone who isn't Lenny Kravitz.) Klear is obviously a band of significant ability, but it needs a little more time to develop its songwriting chops. And Shafer needs to cut back on the whiskey and cigarettes and ratchet the emotion-o-stat down just a little.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson