It’s been 15 years since LFO sang “I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch” on a smash single called “Summer Girls.” Michael Cliord, Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin were toddlers back then, but whatever the decade, teens sure don’t tire of cute boys singing about babes and clothes. These four Aussies with aw-shucks grins and low-slung guitars named themselves after the correct season (summer, duh) and name-checked the right store (American Apparel) for their international hit “She Looks So Perfect” – a sublime three-minute wallop of “hey-ey-ey-ey”s, crunchy chords and gym-class angst.
Though they wield guitars and punk-y attitude, 5SOS actually have a lot more One Direction than Green Day in their DNA. They got their start covering pop and R&B artists like Chris Brown on YouTube and share management with the British heartthrobs in 1D. The band’s members pitched in writing for nearly every track on their debut, which starts with “She Looks So Perfect” and proceeds through 11 more übertame pop-punk songs about love and heartbreak that wish they were as great (power ballad “Beside You” comes closest). Still, their self-deprecating tunes have their charms: “Call me lucky,” one of the guys sings on “End Up Here,” “’cause in the end I’m a six and she’s a 10.”