5 Seconds of Summer 'Calm' review: a near-faultless pop record

The Aussie group proves they have room to grow on their fourth release.

'Calm' proves they are a reliable pop group.

Chris Gillett |
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Their latest release shows 5SOS has found their sound, but still has room to grow.

Their 2018 album Youngblood was a colossal success, so Aussie pop band 5 Seconds of Summer rode the trajectory to their fourth full-length record, Calm. Luke Hemmings and company give us another near-faultless track-listing, cementing their place as an incredibly reliable group.

Although early tracks No Shame and Easier feel like 5SOS of old, with lead vocalist Hemmings’ incessant wails trying (and failing) to rally against the overly “vanilla” instrumentation, the band thankfully raise their game.

Red Desert shows an inventiveness from the get-go, as skippy, reggaeton-rhythm acoustic guitar, Americana lead lines and richly harmonised vocal cries create a neat hybrid of classic and modern styles. With its earworm hooks over a repeated bassline, and simple electro beat, Not In the Same Way will surely be a single. 

The closing third of the album features acoustic guitar as the main ingredient, a softer approach that allows Hemmings’ voice to flow more naturally and comfortably. The dreamy swing to Lover of Mine and the chiming guitar part behind the choral shouts in Thin White Lies elevate the rawness in these heartbroken numbers. Lonely Heart takes a similar approach, but shifts to a stomping beat in the chorus. 

5SOS have really come into their own here, but what’s most exciting is that they still have room to grow.

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