Australian four-piece 5 Seconds of Summer have released their fifth album, aptly named 5SOS5. The album itself marks the first time the band has released anything independently since 2012’s Somewhere New EP.
A full decade later, the band has gone from 2014’s self-titled punk rock album Five Seconds of Summer bursting onto the scene and touring with One Direction to developing an entirely new, cleaner, and mature sound that encapsulates where they’re at in life and as musicians.
After the release of their fourth studio album, Calm, the quartet, composed of Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood, and Ashton Irwin, could not tour because of the looming pandemic. Because of this, they took a group retreat to Joshua Tree, where they cut ties with the old and open themselves to new beginnings.
The album’s first track and single, “COMPLETE MESS,” opens with whimsical notes of birds chirping, setting the landscape for the rest of the album. Lyrically, it’s their strongest album to date with a unique blend of nostalgia, heartache, tenderness, and friendship. 5SOS has always had a perfect balance when playing to their strengths, perhaps the secret to how they’ve been able to keep their momentum high for as long as they have.
They’re not afraid to experiment, though, and that bodes well in instances like “You Don’t Go To Parties” where Hood takes the lead vocally in a track reminiscent of Sounds Good Feels Good, the band’s second album. This can also be said of “Emotions” when Clifford takes it back to the early 2000s indie scene, music that heavily inspired them growing up. That’s not the only experimenting they do; they dip into new genres with the slow-tempo electro-pop song “Bleach.” Things slow, particularly shining in “Older,” a heartfelt, dreamy duet between Hemmings and fiancé Sierra Deaton. When you devote your lives to one another, the inevitable realization of the loss of one without the other creeps in. Picking back up again in “HAZE,” a groovy dance track that would add credence to any Summer playlist. Dust it off for the Summer of 2023!
It’s clear that they don’t lack any amount of self-awareness. While they’re yearning for an out and crying to feel alive in tunes like “TEARS!”, they’re thankful for the past, for there is always a starting point in every journey. At this stage in their career, it’s hard to vacate the roles that the industry has put on you, typecasting you to one sound, yet 5SOS overcomes the stereotypes to produce a masterful album that accurately displays why they’re still heavy hitters in the musical game.
5SOS5 is available to stream wherever you listen to music. Physical copies of the album including exclusive vinyl and merchandise sets are available through the band’s website.