When recording the acoustic EP ‘Next To Me’, Columbus provided something of an illustration of technological advances. The Australians live-streamed their days in the studio on Facebook and Instagram, sharing the process with fans and responding to comments on camera. They also captured moments from the sessions on polaroid, selling limited runs of the prints online, and the contrast was befitting of the release. With one new track and four stripped-back versions of previously heard songs, ‘Next To Me’ is a new side to Columbus: candid and relatively lo-fi.
The all-new title-track introduces the format of the recordings – acoustic guitars carried by full-kit drums, and Alex Moses singing lower and softer than the norm. The lilting melody of the song’s verse doesn’t quite level out a clunky chorus that grates as much as it sticks, and it is perhaps fortunate that this is something of a bonus single.
The EP reveals itself to be oddly backwards, with ‘Next To Me’ followed by a rendering of ‘Say What You Want’ that fails to add anything to the full-band version. ‘Daffodil’ follows and is a different story, Moses’ octave-down vocals suiting the track’s melody even better than the already superb original.
‘Downsides Of Being Honest’ is a similar revision, and a worthwhile departure from the breakneck pop-punk of the opener to Columbus’ debut EP ‘Home Remedy’. Certain moments, particularly on ‘Raindrop’, will leave you wondering if Moses a long-lost Madden brother.
With the focus on ‘Next To Me’’s single, it should be hoped that the re-working of the older tracks isn’t missed by those new to the band. While not drastically different, they may provide an access point for fans of acoustic-based pop-punk à la Dashboard Confessional. If subtlety isn’t what you seek, Columbus’ full-length debut ‘Spring Forever’ does the much the same, but louder.
‘Next To Me’ EP by Columbus is released on 28th April on UNFD.
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Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)