When the frontman of a boy band goes solo, their success is often at mercy of the luck of the draw. 5 Seconds Of Summer’s Luke Hemmings needn’t worry, he’s quite literally at the starting line of something very special, and something tells me even he knows it.
'When Facing The Things We Turn Away' From is self-assured and confident. It is built on the foundations of classic rock songs, written on acoustic guitars and keys, and follows the fool-proof formulas that has an unstoppable emotional pull. At the same time, there’s an excitement brewing beneath the surface. It’s as though his strings have been cut and as a musician, Luke is moving freely for the first time.
The record bookends ten years of non-stop movement having been catapulted to fame as a twee pop rocker, following the likes of One Direction around the world before selling out arenas with bandmates singing about American Apparel underwear.
Across his solo record, Hemmings reflects on youth and all its chaotic glory whilst trying to decipher the blurring memories of an unconventional ascent to adulthood, where he was forced to stand still for a moment amidst a pandemic.
‘Mum’ is a breathy slow burner, written from the perspective of the wide-eyed teen who didn’t have time to call home. ‘Place In Me’ is drenched in melancholic self-pity, experimenting with lo-fi to replicate the communication via voicemail messages that he became accustomed to on the road.
An overarching theme of falling away with lost time is caught in a web of otherworldly strings.
The dark, slinking undertone runs throughout the record in places finding euphoria and light, with Luke allowing himself space to really soar.
However, there are buoyant adrenaline hits of euphoria, like the swelling synth in ‘Starting Line’ and the rush of ‘Diamonds’, whereas ‘Baby Blue’ that has all the same promise as an all American roadtrip.
Closer, ‘Comedown’, has a folksy undertone with a chorus designed to be sang by arena audiences illuminated by iPhone torches.
In 'When Facing The Things We Turn Away From' Luke Hemmings has made big songs, intimate. This once lonely lost soul needn’t worry about time. We’ve got all the time in the world for these tracks.
Words: Tanyel Gumushan
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