Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Sounds Good Feels Good

Second albums are notoriously hard to perfect and usually see a band disappearing into the studio for months; but in the case of 5 Seconds of Summer who’ve been continuously touring the globe, their second album came just 16 months on from their first. Now we must admit we were pretty sceptical – especially with the drama over what genre to even fit the quartet into – se went in with an open mind and here’s what we discovered about Sounds Good Feels Good.

Opening track Money starts with an in-studio clip which creates a fun feel to the start of the release. Packed to the rafters with explosive guitar lines and a killer chorus it’s a typical 5SOS track. The anthemic “take my money!” chant creates a pop-punk vibe with a sing-along edge which is so damn catchy.

Next offerings She’s Kinda Hot and Hey Everybody! have been released as singles meaning fans (ourselves included) have already had time to get acquainted with them). She’s Kinda Hot has the potential to become the 5SOS fan anthem…fact. Yes, the first verse might be a little out of place, an issue addressed by the guys themselves who had “no clue what to write for the start”; but the bigger picture speaks volumes. This feel good track sings of those who might not be the most popular but have the potential to rise above it and become “the kings and queens of the new broken scene” – fiery, fun and ferocious. 5SOS are nailing the relatable lyrics on this release with Hey Everybody! singing of feeling a little bit hopeless and lost, but being able to overcome it. You feel invincible with its shimmying inducing guitar line. With Duran Duran credited on this track it might have something to do with how similar the verses are to Hungry Like The Wolf

It feels like years since we first heard Permanent Vacation which was the first taste of the release, only now we can see it perfectly sums up the feel of the release. With a powerful riffy edge and driving drumlines from Ashton Irwin which definitely don’t get enough attention, it’s all out in your face ballsy track with a well needed punch.

Jet Black Heart steals the show on this release, shifting the mood to a sombre but heartfelt affair it’s a standout ballad for all of the right reasons. Michael Clifford and Calum Hood excel vocally on this track with the heartfelt, passionate lyrics “lets forget who we are and dive into the dark,” pushing us all to take risks in life. You know what, this genuine track makes you realise 5SOS really are just like us.

Safety Pin and Waste The Night bring the poppier side out of the band. Safety Pin builds up to a chorus which is absolutely rammed with melodic vocal lines and Irwin steals the show with his sharp, yet at times, mental drum lines. There’s also a touch of synths which are a strange but very welcomed addition to this sing-along track. We’d more than happily Waste The Night listening to this track; the dreamy electro-pop flaunts Hood and Luke Hemmings vocals in a mesmerising fashion. You’ll be carried away to a new world as you realise that you don’t want to waste another night without this track in your life!

After such a successful beginning there was bound to be a little blip, and Catch Fire and Vapor do this. Catch Fire just never seems to go anywhere with its repetitive drum lines, clichéd lyrics and overused guitar lines. There’s no big hook, nothing to make this a track we want to hear live, it just falls flat. You have to laugh as it just makes us think of Clifford’s Wembley Arena incident with pyro…Vapor sounds as if this family friendly band are turning to hard drugs as they sing “I just need another hit.” It soon turns into a love song, with unnecessary string additions.

Half way through what feels like a double release it’s been a success so far with a matured 5SOS sound being flaunted, but will it continue?

We’ve all been there, messed around by a guy or girl who gave us all the positive signs? “How’d we drift so far away from where we left off yesterday?” and 5SOS have turned the heartbreak into a catchy, fast paced melody. It’s great to see that the quartet aren’t sticking to safe track options as The Girl Who Cried Wolf shows. Yes, it doesn’t really kick off into a huge track, but the emotionally driven vocals supported by the addition of strings give a reflective feel to the track.  Now seems the perfect time to say that 5SOS are blessed with three (technically four) members who can all bring vocals to the table, each uniquely different.

It’s truly refreshing to see the quartet grow musically as the acoustic Broken Home tugs on the heartstrings. Written by The Madden Brothers there’s something particularly painful about it, add in raw vocals and there you have the recipe for tears to flow. Keeping with the acoustic vibes is Invisible where those well loved strings make another appearance; but by now with such a long release it becomes a bit dull.

Taking us back to typical 5SOS territory is Fly Away, throwing us into the rockier side of the release. Rough guitar lines scattered throughout this track with a huge, bold chorus turns this into an anthem. It’s a shame lyrically it’s hella weak and a little bit awkward to listen to, but no doubt you’ll see us jumping around to this catchy tune at a show in the near future.

As we near the end of the release Airplanes and San Francisco bring two completely different sounds to the table: the great and the not so great. Airplanes is different from many of the other tracks with an electronic undertone and is in fact musical theatre worthy. It just feels completely out of place with offering a weird vocal rollercoaster. Going back to the acoustic vibes that we’ve grown to love, San Francisco steals the show on the release. With lashings of acoustic guitars, female backing vocals and a reminiscent feeling it’s pop at it’s finest. There’s something truly beautiful about the vocal arrangement of this track, co-written by Bonnie McKee who’s created some of the biggest radio hits of the past years, this is single worthy material.

Closing tracks Outer Space/Carry On is a little weird as there’s the great first half and the dull as dishwater closing half. We love the strong lead vocals backed up by crowd friendly backing vocals, but the fluttering tempo of the first half has us HOOKED.  “The darkest night never felt so bright with you by my side” has the heart melting vocals requirement all sorted. Then we reach the second half with a slower tempo singing a story of hope, complete with gospel style backing vocals. Considering the short space between their first and second albums we’re taking the “it won’t be long/carry on” lyrics as a hint for album number three…keen? Us…of course not!

Although slightly long this release has been one that highlights what sixteen months can do for a band: a matured sound, lyrics that aren’t an underwear advert and the realisation that trying something new can pay off. 5 Seconds Of Summer have succeeded in making an album which will keep them in great stead for their no doubt lengthy future career. It sounds good and we must admit we feel really good after listening to it.

8/10

Standout Tracks: Jet Black Heart, Safety Pin, San Francisco

For Fans Of: Blink 182, All Time Low, Good Charlotte

Written By: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for pop music, the seaside and writing about other people rather than myself.