Stripped back and reserved – Columbus show us a different side of their sound.

Following the release of their impressive debut, Spring Forever, Aussie 3-piece Columbus bounce back with a new EP. Out of the five tracks on offer here, only one is officially a new song and, for me, it is undoubtedly the highlight.

The titular track Next to Me begins with a sweeping acoustic guitar accompanied by an upbeat-yet-measured drum track. The effect this has is that the listener is greeted by a new dynamic from the Brisbane boys. Instead of the angsty pop-punk with which they have gained a great deal of interest over the previous years, a much more serene sound is explored here.

In part, Next to Me is reminiscent of alt-rock veterans Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris, in the sense that essentially what we hear is a track that is edgy enough to be classed as ‘rock’ or ‘punk’ yet it still possesses all the sensibilities of a ‘pop’ song. This is certainly not a bad thing, in fact, I mean it as a compliment. The fact that Columbus are able to write songs like Next to Me, Daffodil and Raindrop amongst others is a hugely encouraging sign – each of these songs has a killer chorus with hooks that linger in the best way possible. These are all signs of respectable song writing.

I’m extremely excited about Columbus – it’s still very early doors – but I am excited. 2016’s Spring Forever was a truly stellar debut that I have listened to a colossal amount, and I’m sure I will continue to do so. The remaining four tracks on this EP are an acoustic reimagining of some of the standout songs from the humble back catalogue of Columbus. There isn’t too much to say here, as I previously said, these songs are great and therefore they still sound great when stripped down to a more primitive state.

If I had to identify any areas of concern with this release it is the simple fact that the acoustic re-releases of pre-existing songs don’t really offer the listener anything new. But then, that’s not necessarily the point of this EP. In releasing these 5-tracks Columbus have demonstrated that they are capable of producing music that sounds multi-dimensional – they are not limited to just writing fast-paced, energetic pop-punk tracks.

The future for Columbus looks bright – I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

3.5/5 Bytes.

Aaron Jackson.
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