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Ashton Irwin - Superbloom (Album Review)

Tuesday, 03 November 2020 Written by Sophie Williams

Photo: KayKay

Ashton Irwin’s solo music is to alt-rock what early 5 Seconds of Summer was to pop-punk—an obvious, second-rate, totally loveable pastiche of a genre, with a load of songs that walk the line between homage and parody. But don’t we all love a trier?

‘Superbloom’, the debut solo album from the 5SOS drummer, sometimes reveals itself to be a copy-and-paste job of Irwin’s influences. Early single Have U Found What Ur Looking For? recalls the power-chord rhapsodies of Stone Temple Pilots, while lukewarm grunge ballad The Sweetness takes its cues from ‘Superunknown’-era Soundgarden.

If you’re willing to look beyond its faults, though, ‘Superbloom’ is a rewarding, generous listen that puts Irwin's hard-won truths and a newfound willingness to be vulnerable front and centre. 

There’s no more hiding here. Skinny Skinny, a rumination on body dysmorphia, is one of the most devastating tracks of the year, as Irwin’s anguished vocal desperately seeks comfort in a spectral, finger-plucked melody. It’s impossible to get such raw, heart-wrenching imagery out of your head.

Fireworks shatter Irwin’s inner demons into thousands of sparks throughout the staggering Greyhound. “I'm not bitter and broken, I'm just torn up inside / Scream in truth or be spoken, can't hold me inside,” he belts with notable force to prove the point. The anxiety-riddled I’m To Blame, meanwhile, bleeds its foot-stomping chorus and simple, repeated refrain dry, yet its depiction of a fractured relationship feels genuinely affecting.

Musically, ‘Superbloom’ might not be flawless, and Irwin’s dedication to emulating the well-worn sounds of his heroes occasionally becomes drab and tedious. But an unshakable faith in his new project, alongside unflinching honesty throughout, keeps the record bracingly alive.

5 Seconds Of Summer Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed April 07 2021 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Thu April 08 2021 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena Birmingham
Fri April 09 2021 - LONDON SSE Arena Wembley
Sat April 10 2021 - LIVERPOOL M&S Bank Arena Liverpool
Tue April 13 2021 - BELFAST SSE Arena Belfast
Wed April 14 2021 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Fri April 16 2021 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Sat April 17 2021 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Sun April 18 2021 - PLYMOUTH Plymouth Pavilions

Wed March 17 2021 - PERTH HBF Stadium
Fri March 19 2021 - MELBOURNE Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Sat March 20 2021 - SYDNEY Opera House Forecourt
Sun March 21 2021 - SYDNEY Opera House Forecourt
Wed March 24 2021 - NEWCASTLE Bar On The Hill
Fri March 26 2021 - GOLD COAST HOTA
Sat March 27 2021 - BRISBANE Riverstage

Thu May 27 2021 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Met - Philadelphia (USA)
Sat May 29 2021 - HOLMDEL New Jersey - PNC Bank Arts Center (USA)
Sun May 30 2021 - UNCASVILLE Connecticut - Mohegan Sun Arena - CT (USA)
Tue June 01 2021 - BOSTON Massachusetts - Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion (USA)
Wed June 02 2021 - WASHINGTON District of Columbia - Anthem (USA)
Thu June 03 2021 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - Anthem - D.C. (USA)
Sat June 05 2021 - TORONTO Ontario - Budweiser Stage - Toronto (Canada)
Sun June 06 2021 - STERLING HEIGHTS Michigan - Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill (USA)
Tue June 08 2021 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre at the AvidXchange Music Factory (USA)
Wed June 09 2021 - ATLANTA Georgia - Coca-Cola Roxy (USA)
Thu June 10 2021 - INDIANAPOLIS Indiana - Amphitheater at White River State Park (USA)
Fri June 11 2021 - THE WOODLANDS Texas - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (USA)
Sat June 12 2021 - IRVING Texas - Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory (USA)
Tue June 15 2021 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Ascend Amphitheater (USA)
Wed June 16 2021 - INDIANAPOLIS Indiana - Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park (USA)
Fri June 18 2021 - CHICAGO Illinois - Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (USA)
Sat June 19 2021 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - Armory - Minneapolis (USA)
Mon June 21 2021 - DENVER Colorado - Fillmore Auditorium - Colorado (USA)
Wed June 23 2021 - PHOENIX Arizona - Arizona Federal Theatre (USA)
Fri June 25 2021 - IRVINE California - FivePoint Amphitheatre (USA)
Sat June 26 2021 - CONCORD California - Concord Pavilion (USA)

Wed April 21 2021 - PARIS Zenith (France)
Sat April 24 2021 - DUSSELDORF Mitsubishi Electric HALLE (Germany)
Sun April 25 2021 - BERLIN Verti Music Hall (Germany)
Mon April 26 2021 - HAMBURG Stadtpark (Germany)
Wed April 28 2021 - ZURICH Halle 622 (Switzerland)
Thu April 29 2021 - MILAN Mediolanum Forum (Italy)
Sat May 01 2021 - PADOVA Kioene Arena (Italy)
Tue May 04 2021 - MUNICH Zenith (Germany)
Wed May 05 2021 - PRAGUE O2 Arena (Czech Republic)
Thu May 06 2021 - VIENNA Arena Wien (Austria)
Sat May 08 2021 - BUDAPEST Budapest Park (Hungary)

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