5 Seconds of Summer refine their sound with CALM

Róisín Phelan

Australian pop-punk band 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) have stepped further and further away from their original style with every new album release. 

The group’s sound has improved and moved to take a space in the global market with its fourth album CALM, released March 27th.

The title CALM is derived from the first letter of each band member’s forename.

The opening song Red Desert is the perfect introduction to the album with its powerful harmonies and infectious drums. Red Desert incorporates vocals from all four members together throughout the song, a rare sound in 5SOS’s music in the last five years.

Several songs on the album feature vocals only from lead singer Luke Hemmings. Hemmings’ position as the lead singer has been in place since the beginning of the band. Over time his voice has become the more prominent in several successful songs such as Teeth and Easier, where Hemmings’ falsetto vocals are the focal point.

Their single Old Me shot up the charts when it was first released, putting the album in a good position. The lyrics and music video for Old Me tell the story of the band’s beginning with references and shots of their first gigs at home in Australia, showing the origins of their style and fanbase.

A lot of the songs on CALM are powerful and rocky with a heavy bassline.

Wildflower, however, comes up sixth and is a nice change of pace in comparison to the rest of the album. Bass player Calum Hood’s vocals take this song on an upbeat, pop, positive journey. This song is a definite stand out on the album and a good indication of the direction the band’s music may be moving in.

The same style harmonies we heard on Red Desert are used in Not In The Same Way, again accentuating the falsetto vocals of the band members.

Towards the end of the album, we hear more romance-themed songs. Best Years and Lover of Mine are two examples that offer an interesting take on the standard love song.

Lonely Heart comes second last on the album but is not to be skipped over. Its building beat and revolutionary anthem feel brings movement to the song, however, a small increase in pace could have brought the song to an even more powerful level.

High is the last song on the album and is perhaps the only “sad” song featured on CALM. The acoustic guitar carries the song which is a reminder of the band’s acoustic roots. High puts a perfect end to an album that has provided some quite notable songs.

Overall CALM points clearly in the direction that 5SOS are heading, a new style of unique vocals and precise, strong bass and guitar. It has reinforced their style in the current global music scene and will likely be successful.

Róisín Phelan

Image Credit: 5SOS