(Photo courtesy of Billboard) 5 Seconds of Summer returns with a new album to remind listeners of their sound
Over two years after their last release with 2020’s “CALM,” Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer have returned with “5SOS5,” their fifth studio release. The album is a shift in sound for the group, who initially were a pop-punk band. The group had started to shift into straightforward pop with “CALM” and 2018’s “Youngblood,” and this new album is their first release without any clear punk influences. While some may be concerned, this is not a terrible thing.
On top of the genre shift, this album marks a shift in the band’s involvement in the production of their music. While their previous albums feature many notable names, including All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Post Malone’s producer WATT, the majority of tracks on “5SOS5” were produced by guitarist Michael Clifford.
Throughout the album, drummer Ashton Irwin lays down a powerful beat, on both an electronic and a standard drum kit. Irwin’s drums are joined by strong basslines from Calum Hood, while Hemmings and Clifford provide catchy riffs on their guitars. Hood also plays keyboards on every track, with the other three members each provide additional keys, as well as programming the synthesizers and electronic drums.
The opening track, “Complete Mess,” features soaring guitars from Clifford and beautiful harmonies from all four members of the group.
“Moodswings” is one of the first songs since the group’s second album to feature vocals shared between multiple band members, with Clifford and bassist Calum Hood each taking a turn at the microphone, although Hemmings is still present.
“Older,” which was also released as a single in early September, is a duet between Hemmings and his fiancé, Sierra Deaton, who also co-wrote the song with him. Deaton also co-wrote “Lover of Mine,” from “CALM,” but this marks her first vocal collaboration with the group. It is also only the third 5 Seconds of Summer song to have a featured artist, the previous two each being remixes of an existing song.
The album’s best track is “Easy for You to Say,”, which includes a pounding bassline and an extremely catchy guitar riff, along with an organ that is played by Clifford. On the track, Hemmings gets a chance to show off his falsetto on the choruses, before bringing everything down an octave during the bridge.
“Me Myself & I” is the closest to the “Old 5SOS,”, being led by a strong guitar from Clifford while Irwin pounds away on the drums. The track also allows the band to pay homage to one of their biggest influences, with Clifford’s talk box solo evoking memories of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” which they previously referenced on their debut album.
The biggest drawback to the album is its length. 5SOS5 has a staggering 19 tracks and runs for over an hour. After the first seven tracks, things hit a bit of a snag, as many of the songs start to blend. However, the album finishes strong. “Bloodhound” features an incredible second verse from Clifford, who takes over the vocals from Hemmings before transitioning into the album closer, “Tears!.”
5 Seconds of Summer have a reputation for always having a strong closer, and “Tears!” is no exception. The fuzzy bassline combines with Hemmings’s falsetto to create a party atmosphere, leaving listeners wanting more.