Yes, it seems the Tween-Pop Manufacturers Association is working overtime these days. (How can Shawn Mendes be the new Austin Mahone when most people haven't yet adjusted to Austin being the new Justin Bieber?) However, 5 Seconds of Summer may be the rare new-millennium boy band that gets an extended shelf life.
The Aussie quartet's debut "5 Seconds of Summer" (Capitol) isn't just well-crafted power pop brimming with catchy melodies and sweet harmonies. It's overflowing with upbeat energy and the kind of wide-eyed excitement that gets harder to re-create the more time they spend in the music industry grind.
Right now, though, it all seems pretty genuine. Singer Luke Hemmings seems happy to be going on about American Apparel underwear and the conversation-starting abilities of Kurt Cobain T-shirts. The first single, "She Looks So Perfect," takes Jonas Brothers pop, mixes it with One Direction's professed love of The Clash and throws in that certain Aussie "Oi! Oi! Oi!" charm to build something uniquely 5 SOS.
Sure, their influences aren't too complex, and their lyrics aren't that complicated. But there's nothing wrong with that. The revved-up power pop of "End Up Here" could easily have come from any number of Warped Tour bands, while "Long Way Home" somehow feels like fun. mixed with Semisonic.
Perhaps the best part of "5 Seconds of Summer" is that it never lets up. It's a chipper, hit-filled power-pop album from start to finish, with the sole ballad, "Amnesia," saved till the end. And it's a solid sign that their hit-making appeal will last long after this season.
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
"5 Seconds of Summer"
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Aussie boy band nails power-pop vibe.