Sombre introductions welcome listeners into Columbus’ highly anticipated first studio album, Spring Forever. This calmness, just like the album artworks’ electric shock of pastel orange, is quick to transition into a rupturing energy that effortlessly combines the earnest sultry tones that swell beneath with an infectious strength. This strength – steeped in curiosity and power – gains its momentum from the careful of highs and lows; a symbolic game of emotional cat-and-mouse that quickly unveils itself. Offering forward the best Australian punk-pop to emerge out of this decade, Spring Forever is a record that unapologetically charms and delivers.

From its hugely celebrated predecessor, Home Remedy, Columbus return with 12 tracks of tight, visceral sound; the kind that is not simultaneously riddled with the often over-saturated conventions that often pollute the punk-pop genre. Through this, Columbus creates and maintains a shifting progression track-to-track, hallmarking all the elements that first solidifies a person as a fan of the genre. However, it doesn’t stop there; each track simultaneously delivering new, exciting undertones that quickly set Spring Forever as unforgettable with each subtle note pairing, each lyric and each swirling breakdown.

Track ‘Daffodil’ is a vigorously high-energy instrumental reframe, permeating through each pause to grasp listeners by the throat. It’s quick, it’s harmful – it’s an emotive force of a limited express train thundering through East Richmond Station. This song reaches into your chest and claws at every feeling of insecurity you have – and boy, who knew how many there were listening to these lyrics – the bumps of every relationship crawling into pluck those wounds right back open. Putting the listener into visually tantalising story as the main character, Columbus don’t shy away from the delicacy and shaded feelings that can be the nature of a real relationship.

If you’re a daffodil, maybe I am making you wither / Yellow petals in the summertime, I know you want some piece of mind / But if you’re a daffodil, maybe I’m the snow and the winter.” 

As ‘Daffodil’ continues, each peak encircles the lyrics: “I’m falling apart no matter how hard you hold me, please let me go you’d be better without me.” Marked with a deep red stamp, the open invitation for listeners to immerse themselves into the record comes easily, just in time for the first single dropped from the album, ‘Raindrop’. ‘Raindrop’ opens with the same audiovisual imagery that curated ‘Daffodil’ so successfully, inundating listeners with an ever-present pounding rhythm that is accompanied by the careful balance of artistry and style. Just as there’s no rainbow without the rain, the same can be said about this record: moments of sadness overscored by rich and colourful soundscapes and moments of pause.

As a whole, the release rises incredibly smooth, the concluding track on Spring Forever being as powerful as it’s predecessors. In an intimate and honest arrange of affairs, the debut positions listeners to the soft emotional unravelling, hooked by every word; the plush feelings of self-doubt and self-reflection hollowing out ‘Nervous Wreck’ and ‘Learn To Swim’. Within Spring Forever, Columbus toy carefully through these enormous levels of fluctuating energy, utilising their earnestness to capture that, in the simplest sense, you cannot necessarily fully appreciate what is good until you’re facing adversity – that you cannot have spring without the harsh cold of winter.

Spring Forever is out now via UNFD.