Someone call Thin Lizzy because the boys are back in town. 5 Seconds of Summer have returned for their third album Youngblood. It comes following a year long touring hiatus. The album steps away from the teenage pop punk they graced millions of fans with on their previous two albums.
They’ve put aside trying to prove themselves to be a worthy band with interludes, outros and extended instrumentals designed to prove how they play their instruments themselves. The pop driven, new wave infused Youngblood is a step in the right direction.
What’s become clear after the hiatus is that 5 Seconds of Summer are now four individuals, pre-hiatus they’d spent so long together on a gruelling tour/studio/tour/studio schedule that they all seemed to be extensions of each other’s personalities. Now they’re back they’re all separate musicians which can be seen more as they each take the lead on different songs.
Three years previously Irwin, the drummer said: “Seventy five per cent of our lives is [spent] proving we’re a real band. We don’t want to just be, like, for girls. We want to be for everyone.” The statement is problematic in itself. It not only dismisses a solid 90% of their fanbase in a sexist manner, it also demeans a lot of the bands that gave them their start like One Direction and Hot Chelle Rae. It would appear that now the band have dropped these damaging opinions in favour of creating the music they want to and seeing who’s interested.
Youngblood has an air of Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock and Roll about it. The album is a bit of a renaissance for the band, somewhere between Fall Out Boy and Justin Bieber. Whilst Youngblood won’t be gracing club playlists anytime soon, they’re getting further than Capital radio which is a start.
Highlights from the album come in the form of revelatory ‘If Walls Could Talk’, electronica infused, Prodigy sounding ‘Meet You There’ and fresh track ‘Monster Among Men’. The piano work on the latter subtly pulls up the mood and is apt to Hemmings’ silky vocals to draped around it and command movement from the listener.
‘More’ takes the cake as the best track on the album, it has real substance both in the instrumental and the lyrics. The layering of dirty synths and chugging guitars creates a bold soundscape which compliment Calum Hood’s vocals. ‘Valentine’ follows the same dark, gothy mood more fitted to be coming from the likes of Dirty Hit records.
For a band in their early twenties they seen to have no lust for life. A group of young men in their position should be writing the likes of Hard-Fi’s ‘Living for the Weekend’ not ‘Ghost of You’. Regardless of this, ‘Ghost of You’ is an incredible visual metaphor in the titular line ‘dancing round our house with the ghost of you’.
Youngblood is what could be described in ten years time as a defining point in 5 Seconds of Summer’s career. What the band plan to do with their newfound audience could set them on a new trajectory. Youngblood could be just the beginning.
Listen to Youngblood here.