Album Review: ROAM – Backbone

The genre of pop punk is so painfully predictable and stylistically limited that any hope of innovation is long gone. However, the fact that new bands can appear and breathe some life into the scene for a new generation of fans means that there is still a vibrant market for the likes of ROAM. In fact, the five piece from Eastbourne actually manage a degree of individuality, whilst maintaining that signature sound so prevalent in the genre.

The well-worn vocal melodies are still there, backed by the usual guitar lines and tempo changes; and of course there’s that one a capella line after a stop before the punk rock finale. Did you see that coming? But it’s all competently delivered and the British accented vocals make it sound a little fresher; they also try something a little different here and there, which keeps it varied and well worth a listen.

After the pointless intro of ‘The Desmond Show’, ‘Cabin Fever’ is pretty typical fare, but ‘Deadweight’ soon has me reaching for the volume button – its thrashy riff leads into a frantic shout-along, way harder than the poppy opener – good track. ‘All The Same’ and ‘Hopeless Case’ are tame by comparison but, despite the predictable elements, are well-worked and very enjoyable. It’s easy to see why today’s generation will love this band.

By the time ‘R.I.P in Peace’ comes around, they are really starting to grow on me; their use of time changes and well-thought-out arrangements giving them more depth than the average punk popsters; ‘Head Rush’ being further example of how well they work a tune. The ballad-y ‘Tell Me’ is another fine song offering up a little variety and hinting at a bit of depth with the lovely acoustic outro; personally I’d have finished the album here, as closer ‘Leaving Notice’ adds little.

Overall, this is an enjoyable record from ROAM; it sounds fresh and they manage to keep a tired genre interesting as they demonstrate plenty of musical talent and the ability to arrange a tune. Will probably be massive.


’Backbone’ by ROAM is out now on Hopeless Records

ROAM links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Tumblr

Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)


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