ROAM

Backbone

Written by: PP on 23/05/2016 19:07:14

UK-based ROAM have been creating some buzz recently with a well-received EP "Viewpoint" in 2015, debut album "Backbone" earlier this year, and high-profile support slots opening for Against The Current across Europe and now for Simple Plan. It is particularly surprising as the band's easycore-influenced pop punk stands out like a sore thumb against the pop rock of the former and the light pop punk of the latter, but at least they're exposing the (relatively) heavier side of the pop punk scene to some younger and less experienced fans to whom Simple Plan is likely a springboard band into the scene at large.

A complete listen of "Backbone" reveals an inspiration list that reads like a who's who of pop punk from the past 16 years. Fall Out Boy-ish up-then-down melodies compete for space against the high-energy, in-your-face pop punk style of The Story So Far coupled with the summery pop punk vibes of New Found Glory. All of this is encompassed in bouncy, occasionally aggressive easycore undertones that are ripe for circle pits at live shows. Not exactly Simple Plan material if you think about it. "Deadweight", for instance, floors the pedal and practically sounds like an old Set Your Goals track with its high testosterone levels and a hardcore-fueled rhythm section that gives Four Year Strong a run for their money. But to be fair, the breakneck speed, roughened pop punk tracks like the aforementioned or "Head Rush" are in a minority role on the album, where the majority of tracks follow a pattern set by "Cabin Fever", which channels straight-up pop punk from the mid-2000s era. Later on, acoustic ballad "Tracks" echoes the emotional pop punk ideals of Real Friends and actually works surprisingly well considering how boring most acoustic ballads tend to be on pop punk albums. It's an avenue the band ought to explore in more detail.

Production-wise, the album sounds a little off. There's way too much polish on the vocals making them come across a little bit artificial, thus removing some of the instant gratification you gain on The Story So Far's albums. Secondly, even though the album references a star-studded cast of pop punk greats sound wise, it comes across awfully derivative and unoriginal compared to the original artists. The lack of infectiously catchy tracks plays a big role here, where ROAM appear to have lots of work left despite display a few solid tunes on "Backbone".

Download: Cabin Fever, Tracks, Head Rush, Goodbyes
For the fans of: The Story So Far, Neck Deep, Four Year Strong, New Found Glory
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.01.2016
Hopeless Records

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