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There is something special about seeing a young, bright-eyed band take their first nervous steps in the wider music world when they release their first full body of work. As with any human learning to walk, the beginning is usually shaky and unbalanced, but exhilarating nonetheless.
Brisbane trio Columbus have well and truly proved to be an exception to the rule. After a whirlwind 18 months of opening festival stages, touring and releasing EP’s, the band inked a deal with UNFD this year and have offered up ‘Spring Forever‘, their opening statement to the fast expanding world of Aussie punk rock.
‘Spring Forever‘ is anything but a starry-eyed, ‘dare-to-dream’ debut album, though. From the opening strands of ‘Summer Dress‘, melancholic reflection runs deep throughout this record. Serving as an introduction to LP #1, ‘Summer Dress‘ dynamically grows into a down-the-line punk song that allows singer Alex Moses to introduce themes of grief, regret, and acceptance. ‘Daffodil‘ and ‘Raindrop‘ are the first two full cuts from the record that fully explore such ideas. “If you’re a Daffodil maybe I’m making you wither” cries Moses, using the upbeat punk soundscape to channel the emotional negativity. ‘Learn To Swim‘ delves even further into the personal doubts and struggles of a person trying to find their true self, with the fast, pounding rhythms of the song echoing the sheer emotional roller-coaster of young adult life. It’s good stuff!
Aside from maturing emotionally, Columbus have effectively allowed themselves to naturally grow as songwriters. ‘Spring Forever‘ doesn’t try and force any unwanted surprises just for the sake of “doing something different” (looking at you August Burns Red). Sure, the guitar solo in the poppy yet catchy as hell ‘Stay‘ might come out of nowhere, but it feels like a band having fun on their instruments as opposed to musicians with writer’s block desperately attempting to salvage any creative juices. Songs like ‘Broken Glass‘ and ‘Replace Me‘ are structurally and melodically considerable advancements from their ‘Home Remedy‘ EP. It seems that the band allowed for enough time to really let the songs develop, with ‘Replace Me‘ standing out of the pack with an energetic chorus, and a steady but damn exciting build to the finale.
What has always made Columbus different from their peers, however, is the heart-on-sleeve honesty the band shows, both musically and lyrically. It’s evident in their back catalogue, but where that was excited teenagers rocking out with mates, ‘Spring Forever‘ is young adults coming to understand their surroundings. ‘Nervous Wreck‘, the solo acoustic cut from the album, allows the listener a breather, whilst allowing Moses to present his own feelings of doubt and anxiety in a raw, unprotected environment. The title track closes the album out and avoids the common mistake of presenting any closing pomp by opting for a reflective look back at past events and offers enough energy to soldier on, despite the inevitable struggles that lie ahead. Because as the track states, “We were never going to stay together. It can’t be spring forever.”
So while ‘Spring Forever‘ is a sad album presented with positive energy, it feels like Columbus want to remind people that despite the pain life holds, it’s how you deal with it that counts. Writing a debut album is one hell of an option on that list, and these boys can tick it off knowing that it was not a bad idea at all.
‘Spring Forever’ is a record that has a world of experience, both musically and worldly behind it. It sounds like three musicians who are well aware that the ground beneath them could fall away at any moment, but who are very determined to enjoy the moment regardless.
- Summer Dress
- Learn To Swim
- Say What You Want
- Nervous Wreck
- Broken Glass
- Replace Me
- Spring Forever