Five Star Iris shows all the makings of a radio-friendly rock group. The band's eponymous debut has all the right ingredients for a Top 20 album overly slick production, alt-pop melodies, and post-grunge rhythms that occasionally move at a snail's pace. It's the kind of thing A&R types eat up but critics snidely write off as, you know, radio-friendly. The thing is, they're both right. It's easy listening for everyone, and that's not a bad thing. Guitarist/vocalist Alan Schaefer's just too damned tuneful with his music and equally mindful with his lyrics. On songs like "What the Hell's Your Problem Now," Schaefer goes out of his way to avoid lyrical clichés, instead taking aim at all the "woe is me" mopesters that populate alt-rock. And that's definitely worth a few stars.
Five Star Iris and Josh Kelly open for Collective Soul on Wednesday, January 10, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Call 954-727-0950, or visit www.jointherevolution.net.