5 Seconds Of Summer (5SOS), the Australian pop-rock band from Sydney, New South Wales sure landed on the scene with a thud and made their mark on the industry way back in 2014 with their self-titled debut.
Their last album, 2018’s critically acclaimed Youngblood, was the album that saw a step away from pop-punk and towards pop hits. Now we reach the point where their sound has developed even further in the way of their brand new record CALM.
The record CALM is named after the four members of the band: Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin, Luke Hemmings and Michael Clifford. The album has got a chaotic kind of energy that seems anything but calm as it jumps about between influences throughout decades from ’70s reveries to ’80s synthpop. You yourself are likely to also jump about or dance as the case may be to the many brilliant songs on this, the band’s fourth album.
CALM opens with the track ‘Red Desert’ that smacks of the ’70s, a track that the guys put together to show that they could all sing but in a way that was different from their younger vocal incarnations. This one is intended to have “big rock harmonies”, something they pulled off without a hitch. You may not realise it’s 5SOS if you heard this song in a bar but you’d be sure to enjoy it regardless of who was behind the track.
A couple of tracks later we hear a highlight of the album, ‘Old Me’. It’s catchy as hell but also very relevant because the theme of the album can be encapsulated in the lyrics of this one song. When breaking down each of the tracks on the album Hemmings said: “Lyrically it’s about owning mistakes and moving forward with your life and understanding that you’re not the person you were when you were younger, but also you have to do these things and make mistakes to move forward.”
This whole album was written by the men that these boys have become, having rocked through their early twenties in the public eye. They’ve made mistakes (as we all do) and this record is an honest commentary of some of them.
Remember that ’80s synthpop mentioned earlier? It’s brought to you a track or two more down the line in the way of ‘Teeth’. It is an amazing track, musically and lyrically. You could be forgiven for thinking it reminds you of a Fall Out Boy song you don’t quite remember the name of. It is, in fact, better than that, it’s a song you will remember the name of as it certainly has ‘Teeth’.
Other stand out songs include ‘Lover of Mine’ which is pitifully sad, complete with poignant vocals and downbeat acoustic guitars, and ‘Thin White Lies’ which is equally as sad and depressing, in that way we like to ponder on our past lives.
This album is prime pop and does not let anyone else tell you otherwise. It pushes the band musically and shows us a different side to the young boys best remembered for open up for One Direction in arenas and stadiums across the world. Where it is true they outgrew their roles as the support act a long time ago but this record just solidifies that fact.