REVIEW: 5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘5 Seconds Of Summer’

5 seconds of summer 5sos

Artist: 5 Seconds of Summer
Album: 5 Seconds Of Summer
Genre: Pop rock

Every few years a band comes along with a sound that caters to both the mainstream and alternative underground, but due to how they choose to market themselves certain ‘scene gatekeepers’ refuse to acknowledge the group’s work as anything other than radio fluff. In 2014, that band is known as 5 Seconds Of Summer, but try as some might to claim otherwise I am convinced there is no stopping their eventual rise to the top of the pop rock hierarchy.

Hailing from Australia with a sound inspired by your favorite non-hardcore/metal Warped Tour artists, 5 Seconds Of Summer have risen from relative obscurity to full-blown international sensations in just over a year’s time. Their debut album arrived at our offices last week, and to be honest I was a little more than hesitant to put it on. The first single, “She Looks So Perfect” did very little to amuse me, but something told me that giving the full record a chance would be a good decision. I trusted my gut, which was correct, and am now able to tell you without a sliver of doubt that I believe in the infectious pop rock power 5 Seconds Of Summer possess.

The self-titled debut album from 5 Seconds of Summer was produced by industry legend John Feldmann. “She Looks So Perfect” kicks things off with a high-gloss dose of familiarity before handing things off to “Don’t Stop,” which is a strong single in its own right. I recognized both songs as being catchy and easy to remember, but it was not until I heard “Good Girls” that I was convinced of the world’s inability to stop 5SOS from conquering global pop charts. Backed by a wall of sound production, the song packs a Mayday Parade inspired hook into a three and a half minute pop rock jam that is so undeniably catchy I imagine it would be impossible for anyone to walk away not believing there was at least something special about this band. It’s the kind of song I imagine Good Charlotte would have written during their Young And The Hopeless phase, only with cleaner vocals and more ‘whoa-oh’ moments.

As the album progresses, it becomes crystal clear that this record was crafted with the idea of making every song a potential single in mind. There is no cohesion between any song other than the fact they each touch on young love and pack as much high-gloss pop rock as possible into their under 4-minute runtimes. This album is not as much a complete listening experience as it is a mixtape of possible hits written by whomever the band and their label could afford, which is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as the songs are good — which they largely are — 5SOS can deliver whatever selection of tracks they want and fans will no doubt eat it up. For every rare misfire (“Beside You” or “Mrs All American”) there are at least three undeniable pop offerings that channel groups like Green Day and Blink-182 to straddle the line between hip and mainstream with a fervency never before found in the world of pop rock.

It’s not all about arena-ready anthems, however, and 5 Seconds Of Summer have made plenty of room on their debut album to swoon teens and adult women alike. “Everything I Didn’t Say” kicks these efforts into high gear with a classic tale of hindsight and things left unsaid, which is supported later on the record by tracks like “Long Way Home” and “Amnesia.” That last track, which also serves as the album’s big acoustic number, is headed to radio soon and will spend several weeks, if not months, sitting near the top of every global pop radio chart. It’s not that deep, but it grabs you with the kind of beautiful simplicity that helped One Direction take “Story Of My Life” to number one.

I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to understand why so many people are quick to write off 5 Seconds Of Summer as another boy band, but it also doesn’t take a refined ear to hear the group’s debut album and know they may very well be the biggest band in the world this time next year. There are enough potential hits on this record to fuel the 5SOS hype machine well into 2015, which gives the group plenty of time to rake in cash through their numerous touring efforts. Their future efforts will prove whether or not they have any kind of staying power, but for now I wholeheartedly believe it’s safe to say 5 Seconds Of Summer are the best new mainstream band of 2014.

SCORE: 8.5/10
Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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