Anything strongly reminiscent of Blink 182 is fine in my book. The relatively new pop-punk rock band A Clear Blurr is one such band, with a vibrant new album and a whole lot of potential.
The band is made up of four members: Kevin Nicotera, Tom Kenney, Karl Pearson and Cole MacDonnell. The men are from New Jersey and continue to make the Garden State their base of operations. “Trigonometry” is the band’s sophomore album and will officially be released on Sept. 29.
As a longtime punk rock fan, I’m a tough critic and generally skeptical of new faces on the scene. Perhaps it is the infectious enthusiasm of “Trigonometry” or simply the lack of any outstanding new punk rock albums this summer, but something comes together just right to make this album a home run. The best songs include “Drive Me Crazy” (a genuine Blink 182 homage), “Barely Breathing” and “Sharks & Liars.”
The band was originally formed in October 2005, when the first three members, Kenney, Pearson and MacDonnell, were high school freshmen. They have since graduated and switched gears to focus on their music careers.
“Tom and Kevin knew each other since elementary school, as did Karl and Cole,” guitarist Nicotera said. “The band kind of fell apart soon after it started. Cole joined a new band, and slowly, A Clear Blurr came into play again, but only with Tom, Karl and a new drummer.”
From the very first track, one is hard-pressed not to recall the height of the ‘90s pop punk craze and its kings, Blink 182. Nicotera named other major musical influences, including New Found Glory, Incubus, All Time Low, “Motion City” Soundtrack, Thrice, Johnny Cash, Misfits and The Starting Line.
Noticeably missing from their list of punk rock influences is Fall Out Boy, even though there is certainly a similarity between the much-maligned yet still popular group and these up-and-coming rockers.
“I think Fall Out Boy came into the scene a little too late to be a major influence,” Nicotera said.
He explained that the band works together to come up with new songs. Nine times out of 10, the members “will just get together and start working up some kind of idea with hopes of turning it into a song. Over time we’ll pick it apart and change things here and there.” Nicotera credited Kenney with imagining up lyrics andMacDonnell with creating many of the guitar riffs.
The success the band has received over the years has been met with modesty and humility from their standpoint.
“We don’t look like the kind of kids that would be in a band, and we don’t drink or do drugs,” Nicotera said. “We’re the normal kids you would see in high school… We are friends with everybody and everybody can relate to our music.”
For those traveling to the East Coast soon, ‘A Clear Blurr’ can next be seen on Sept. 25 at the Fall Festival in Edison, N.J.