After building a fan base on YouTube, 5 Seconds of Summer started their ever increasing popularity by supporting One Direction on their Take Me Home tour. Their debut single ‘She Looks So Perfect’ went straight to the top of the charts in March this year, with second single ‘Don’t Stop’ also making it to number two. The Australian pop punk/pop rock band claim to take inspiration from the likes of Blink 182 and Green Day, and insist that, despite their largely female fan base, they are a not a boy-band as they write and play their own music.
The self-titled album 5 Seconds of Summer, however, can be considered to dangerously tread some boyband territory at times, in contrast to some of its slightly heavier tracks featuring more prominent guitar riffs. However all tracks contain catchy chorus’s even if sometimes accompanied by some incredibly cheesy lyrics. The album goes straight in with both leading singles ‘She Looks So Perfect’ and ‘Don’t Stop’, followed by one of the cheesiest tracks on the album ‘Good Girls’, which was written with Scouting for Girl’s Roy Stride. Featuring lyrics like ‘good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught’ the track will definitely be a crowd pleaser with their younger female fans, but less so with others.
The following tracks ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me’ and ‘18’ also take a similar vein and particularly highlight the age of the band, and from that the even younger age of their supposed audience. At times the lyrics even take a self-mocking tone over the bands immaturity. Both tracks are definitely some of the weakest on the album, highlighting the lack of diversity between tracks and the somewhat repetitive nature to 5 Seconds of Summer’s writing style. ‘18’ at times slips into some slightly bad and awkward lyrics such as ‘she told me to meet her there, I can’t afford a bus fare’. The album is also sprinkled with some other incredibly well known co-writers whose influence is very evident throughout, ranging from All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth to Busted’s James Bourne.
Thankfully the album does recover itself continuing with two of its strongest tracks ‘Everything I Didn’t Say’ and ‘Beside You’. These tracks made the band appear more comfortable with their sound, even if playing on a rather clichéd heartbreak theme, again very much for the younger fans. The album as a whole now sounded very similar to bands like All Time Low and Boys Like Girls. ‘Everything I didn’t Say’ however did reflect a more Imagine Dragons like theme. Although not displeasing, the album wasn’t particularly adventurous or new. It features strong melodies throughout, but it does all become very ‘samey’ after a complete listen.
No other tracks on the album are overly striking or worth a mention, apart from the bands next single ‘Amnesia.’ Written with Good Charlotte’s Madden brothers, the heartfelt acoustic track definitely stood out on the album. It’s simplistic yet effective, however it does share some similarities with what you would expect to come out of One Direction. For the band however, who make conscious efforts to distinguish themselves from the boyband category, this song did bring them a tad closer to that label. The song is placed towards the end of the album, where it really should have been used to break up some of earlier tracks. It did also sound at times that the strong leading vocals may have been ruined by the addition of autotuning, a shame as it didn’t seem to be needed.
The album does however differentiate 5 Seconds of Summer from bands like The Vamps due to their more punk and rock influences. Their songs tend to stray from pop into heavier guitar based tracks. If looking for cheesy pop-punk the album delivers on all levels, and is undoubtedly catchy, but it would have been nice to see some more variation between songs. This said, I’m looking forward to see how this band will mature and develop their sound after this album, as this did seem written solely for their young and teenage audience. Unless a fan of All Time Low’s more recent work, steer clear of this album, which is very similar and is certainly not for everyone.
5 Seconds of Summer is available now via Capitol Records. Tickets to their Rock Out With Your Socks On Tour are available now.