The line between pastiche and homage is wafer thin at the best of times, but with pop punk it’s nearly imperceptible. One of the biggest challenges facing emerging artists is grappling with the genre’s inherent sincerity, channelling it as endearing rather than cloying. There’s only so far earnestness can take you without the self-awareness to tenderise it, demanding a sense of stakes and palatable depth beneath the chantalong aphorisms. Through this lens, Spielbergs’ debut album This Is Not The End doesn’t so much land on its feet as delicately drift into its aptly morose, pop punky pose, assured without a scent of try-hard, an almost jarring naturalism.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Spielbergs hailed from Philadelphia or New Jersey, the trendiest product of the East Coast’s pop punk assembly line but, despite their evocative “WOAH”s and lead singer Mads Baklien’s vaguely American twang, they’re Norwegian. Norwegian dads, librarians, kindergarten teachers, everyday rock fans who had their stints in locally renowned but internationally obscure post hardcore and indie folk bands, before “real life” – at first – began taking priority.

But they kept at it, kept joining bands, kept meeting other fans and musicians whose dreams sustained momentum. In an interview with Stereogum, drummer Christian Løvhaug said bassist Stian Brennskag was recruited after “meeting him in the men’s room at a farewell show to one of the last remaining bands from that DIY scene”. Like Japandroids, these guys lead fulfilling, constantly evolving lives well into adulthood, outgrowing many things but never that unquenchable yearning to live rock music.

Spielbergs aren’t a group of frat boy prodigies, but a crew of thoughtful, grounded fellas given a fresh, possibly final shot at their dream. These guys make sincerity an artform, so immutably honest that the distinction between homage and pastiche is eroded to irrelevancy. But they also have the tunes to live up to it.

When a pop punk band fulfils the Bags Of Hooks obligation – the ancient and venerated decree that two thirds of songs be verse-chorus-verse with populist-melody riffs and slick chord changes – they’re already on a winning run; and This Is Not The End absolutely satiates that ritual urge. ‘Five On It’ and ‘Distant Star’, the record’s opening double-punch, are hypercompetent pop punk anthems, purveying growling, deceptively considered riffs and stark, beer-cans-in-the-air communality with promises that “Now we could be perfect/ You could have made me better”.

‘We Are All Going To Die’ goes a little harder, a little faster, and a nihilist’s bookshelf’s more exasperated, before imploding in a thrilling extended breakdown. ‘4AM’ is an instant canonical classic, joining Modern Baseball’s ‘Your Graduation’ and Japandroids’ ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’ in its unbridled, escapist ecstasy. There’s not a time signature, a note, a syllable out of place, as mechanically neat as it is sentimentally rousing. This is the song where you drop your half-full Red Stripe and dive into the pit gurning your face off the uplift of great rock music.

So they satisfy their obligation, and that’d be enough, but there’s a sporadic ennui haunting the record, a shadow of insecurity lingering over the assertions of optimism and solidarity. The friction of adulthood against adolescent friendships, and coming to terms with the incompatibility of that enduring relationship – or its straightforward toxicity – transpires on ‘Bad Friend’, while ‘Sleeper’, as the requisite acoustic track – a tradition in pop punk tracklisting nearly as statutory as the Bags Of Hooks – is lovely and lonely, a timid guitar line blanketed by feedback as Baklien discloses faux comfort to a worried loved one but is really as resigned as they are.

‘McDonalds (Please Don’t Fuck Up My Order)’ and closer ‘Forevermore’ are meandering near-epics; the former’s patience and melody-attentiveness redolent of post-rock, the latter an all-in, full-throated denouement of selfhood as independence with Baklien snarling “do what you want/ I stand alone, forevermore”; a poignantly, inescapably sad defiance given his preceding avowals for unity. The record is contradictory, hopeful and dejected, and all the more rewarding for it.

You could say that a debut this confident and cleanly, almost-objectively good – which nails the fundamentals while simultaneously pursuing divergent moods and textures – is remarkable; but then again, it’s more a culmination than a beginning. Here’s hoping their career will be as fruitful as their namesake; and not a one-note wonder like their contemporaries, The Lucases.