It is easy to dismiss Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer as a typical boy-band after their supporting act at One Direction’s sold out Take Me Home and Where We Are tours. But before you toss them into the traditional ‘pop’ category, take a listen to their self-titled debut album. The 15-track record, which peaked at the number-one spot on iTunes in 69 countries, features punk-pop and rock elements that could not be more distinct from their counterparts.
On the first loop, it appears that the boys drew inspiration from their musical influences, All Time Low and Blink-182. But a couple of replays later and you will realise that the album showcases some serious song-writing talent from the band. The foursome – Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin – co-wrote most of the tracks and their youthful, mischievous nature is evident in the stories they recollected in their songs.
The title track ‘She Looks So Perfect’ is a sappy, love-sick number that will certainly win with the young crowd. With lyrics like ‘They say we’re too young now to amount to anything else” and “I got your name tattooed in an arrow heart”, it is everything teen love encompasses: angst, confusion and obsession.
More catchy anthems of puppy love and rebellion came in the form of ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Good Girls’ and ‘18’. The guitar-laden ‘Don’t Stop’ amassed over 11 million views on YouTube, illustrating that fans are just as appreciative of their adrenaline-fuelled pop-rock numbers as they do for their sugary tracks. The mid-tempo ‘Long Way Home’ delivers similar hints of 90s alternative rock and it is just as easy to be impressed with their edgier tunes like ‘Everything I Didn’t Say’.
Those who have been with 5SOS since their early days, however, may be more familiar with upbeat, witty crowd-pleasers like ‘End Up Here’ and ‘Heartbreak Girl’. These are the kind of instantly-likable, radio-friendly sounds that garnered the boys so much attention. But the album is not simply one-dimensionally packed with energetic, summery songs. There are slower show-stoppers ‘Beside You’, ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Never Be’ that shone the spotlight on the boys’ ever-improving vocals. Their progress is especially recognisable on ‘Amnesia’, a forlorn ballad penned by Good Charlotte’s Benjamin and Joel Madden.
5 Seconds of Summer is still a relatively new band on the music scene, but the endless possibilities in their music is an indication that the band still has the potential to soar beyond the rest of the pack.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘End Up Here’ and ‘Amnesia’