With so many pop-punk bands out there doing exactly the same thing, how do you stand out from the crowd and get noticed? Well, ROAM seem to have found a way to break the mould, and at such a young age, managing to get on extensive US tours and signing to Hopeless Records after self-releasing just two EPs. The Eastbourne lads are finally putting out their debut full-length after being everywhere for what seems like forever now, but does ‘Backbone’ live up to the excitement, or is it just another routine rehash of the same old formula?
A very American radio greeting in ‘The Desmond Show’ sets the scene for ‘Cabin Fever’, which immediately shows the similarities to previous records the band have put out, with somewhat catchy choruses and summer-y tones, but the lack of progression is clear so early in ‘Backbone’.
ROAM are stuck in the standard format of pop-punk that the Americans have set and is being distributed by bands all over the world in the same template, just with a different label on it. ‘Hopeless Case’ and ‘Head Rush’ are interchangeable, and you could’ve seen the same thing on the Vans Warped Tour in America any year over the last decade.
There’s nothing bad about ‘Backbone’, there’s just no substance to make it any different than anything else. ROAM are making it far too easy for Jarrod Alonge; we’ve got the expected slow number ‘Tracks’ and regular guest vocals – although it is good to hear Set Your Goals‘ own Matt Wilson on ‘Deadweight’ in what is an unrivalled highlight on the album, and easily the best track as it steps out of the comfort zone the band are cemented into.
If you like creativity, interest and craftsmanship in your music then stay well clear of this. But, if you’re totally happy with the pop-punk scene exactly as it is right now, then lick your lips because you’re going to be over the moon. For fans of Neck Deep, The Story So Far, Trash Boat, State Champs, WSTR, Seaway, Knuckle Puck, Man Overboard, Forever Came Calling, Transit, Such Gold, Handguns, and the rest of them.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)