British pop-punk quintet ROAM have returned with their third full-length, ‘Smile Wide’, through which the group infuse shining melodies and energetic choruses to create a record full of bounce and zest.
Whilst working in a subgenre that can often be restrictive, the group structure the songs and riffs effectively, reminding audiences of the charm that hides within pop-punk. As shown in opening track, ‘Better In Than Out’, guitarists Alex Adam and Sam Veness flit through sliding chords, octave runs, and tight palm-muting to drive a strong energy throughout its brief run-time.
The group’s strong melodic awareness shines through on lead single, ‘I Don’t Think I Live Here Anymore’ as vocalist Alex Costello switches lyrics during its choruses without losing the hook. Whilst it maintains a strong punk tempo, shades of shoegaze style finger-picking dip in and out of the track, creating different tones for the group to explore.
For the most part, the record doesn’t stray too far from the pop-punk sound they’ve developed and honed in on with their last record, ‘Great Heights And Nosedives’. That being said, ROAM don’t need to at this point in their career, with songs such as ‘Loud’ and ‘Red And Blue’ delivering solid gang vocal melodies and irresistible riffs that worm their way through the tracks.
By keeping exterior influences minimal, when fully utilised, the impact hits harder. This is shown in ‘Hand Grenade’; starting soft and sparse, the track soon rips into twisting guitar lines and snappy vocals before diving into a melodic chorus. Throwing in surf style guitar solos and sleazy harmonies before ending on an ad-libbed coda, it sparingly uses additional techniques to great effect.
Using a heavily instrumental structure to end the record, ‘Turn’ pulls back the energy slightly to reveal lush chords and slinking vocal lines. Showing a more restrained side of the group, yet still retaining the sparkling melodies and charm from previous tracks, ROAM give a glimpse of where they could move towards on the next album cycle.
Straight to the point and hook laden, ‘Smile Wide’ sees ROAM continue to solidify the pop-punk sound they’ve been working on throughout their career. With elements of where else they can explore in future efforts, ‘Smile Wide’ looks to be the record where ROAM have truly found their feet.
A short guy, loves all genres, still believes it’s 2005. Watches too much TV.