2017 is shaping up to be a powerhouse year for pop-punk releases, with the likes of Neck Deep and Knuckle Puck proving that they’re set to take charge of the scene and newer breakthrough bands including The Gospel Youth and Grayscale making their mark with impressive debuts.
Eastbourne five-piece ROAM have been charging their way through the UK scene for the past five years with their energetic, dual-vocal filled formula. Their debut album, ‘Backbone’, opened many doors for the band, including a run on the entire Vans Warped Tour back in 2016. When the time came for ROAM to unleash their second full-length ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’, the overall question (as it usually is with sophomore albums) was “Is this release going to propel the band further?”
Although ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ doesn’t stray too far from any of ROAM‘s previous releases, there are clear improvements in both songwriting and production throughout the record. ‘Playing Fiction’ was revealed as the album’s lead single, and holds up as one of the strongest tracks. With crunchy guitars and upbeat vocal melodies, it’s a perfect pop-punk summer anthem.
With ‘Backbone’, ROAM offered up a stellar acoustic song in ‘Tracks’, and on ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ sees them providing a more intricate ballad with ‘Curtain Call’ – a full-band driven, emotional track that balances its dynamics wonderfully.
Once the album hits its halfway point, it seems to become a lot more consistent. While ‘Alive’ and ‘The Rich Life Of A Poor Man’ do hold up well, they have a tendency to sound quite like filler tracks, and ‘Alive’ isn’t a particularly striking way to start the record.
‘Scatterbrain’ and ‘Flatline’ are respectively two of the best songs on the album. Alex Costello (vocals) and Alex Adam (vocals/guitar) deliver some excellent call and response vocals in the former of the two, and the latter is a hard-hitting track that’s reminiscent of ‘Chuck’ era Sum 41. ‘Home’ closes out the record nicely with some traditional pop-punk gang vocals in an uplifting anthem about belonging no matter where you are.
With ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’, ROAM have proved that they’re more than a one trick pony by showcasing some new influences and elements throughout the eleven tracks. Both musically and lyrically, this is definitely a step up from ‘Backbone’, and shows that ROAM have a pretty bright future ahead of them.
Written by Phoebe Constable (@phoebecnstable)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. |