To the untrained eye newcomers 5 Seconds of Summer seem to effortlessly fall in the musical ball park of One Direction, with their fresh-faced youthful appearance and vibrantly bouncy radio-friendly songs about teenage girls. However, recent attention from rock bastion Kerrang and the revelation that they actually write their own songs and play their own instruments – an achievement hard to find these days – suggests that perhaps there is a flash of substance behind the boys’ popular style. We investigated their self-titled debut album to see if there was indeed more to offer.
A lot can be distinguished from an album’s opening track, as it can provide the flavour of the tone and let the listener know what they’re in for: this is perfectly achieved with She Looks So Perfect. The band’s website states that they are heavily pop-punk influenced, and this track is a solid product of this cannon. It happily bops and zips along with its own youthful charm, full of ridiculously catchy sing-a-long chants and lyrics that will melt teenage girl’s hearts by the thousands. The album sticks ruthlessly loyal to this theme with almost every song based around the idea of chasing girls to the point where it does become tiresome; it feels as if it’s a collection of interchangeable singles, as opposed to a carefully constructed, layered album.
The levels of production placed on the boys’ work is an interesting issue as every single song is polished to perfection, though this does take away some of the edginess. Luke’s vocals could be easily substituted with that of other similar sounding bands, such as All Time Low and does border on the sickly sweet side every once in a while. It’s easy to forget how young the boys are and therefore it would be harsh to criticise their music for occasionally seeming generic – some true gems like 18 and Social Casualty stand out.
While 5 Seconds of Summer may be able to provide an occasional pleasant, poppy track that younger Radio 1 listeners will happily eat up, they do struggle to go beyond this sparkly surface. The lads have a long way to go to earn the beloved tag of pop-punk – their music is more Busted than Blink 182. Fingers crossed their next effort has a bit more character and variation and isn’t lost in in the sea of over-produced commercial pop.
5 Seconds of Summer was released on 4th July 2014, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for She Looks So Perfect here: