You’ve got to hand it to Roam, they’ve worked their socks off since the release of last year’s debut, the well-received ‘Backbone’. They’ve played anywhere and everywhere, contributed to a Green Day tribute album and writen the new record. We do like a band that are willing to put the effort in, so it’s quite satisfying that the difficult sophomore record, ‘Great Heights and Nosedives’, largely fulfills the Eastbourne pop-punker’s early promise and sees them steadily moving forwards.
The bright and breezy riffs of ‘Alive’ starts it all off with a straight-ahead slice of catchy pop-punk. It’s pretty safe but makes all the right noises and segues nicely into the slightly harder edge of ‘Left for Dead’, which is also deep in the comfort zone, but like everything else, well-executed.
What sets Roam slightly apart from their peers is the freshness they bring to the genre. Sure, at times they stay within the predictable, but they also know how to put a twist on an arrangement to inject a little life. ‘The Rich Life of A Poor Man’, for instance, steps outside the usual template effectively, while ‘Scatterbrained’ makes for a quirkily cool tune. ‘Home’ also features an interesting arrangement and is a nice way to round things off.
However, some of their rougher edges have been smoothed off at the expense of the raw power that shone through on their debut; there isn’t anything here that rocks as hard as ‘Deadweight’ for example. Even so, if you are going to embrace a more obviously commercial sound, then you should nail it, which is exactly what they do. Every chorus is a winner, ‘Playing Fiction’ is a stone cold banger of a single and ‘Flatline’ is a seriously good tune. Even on the less memorable tracks like ‘Open Water’ it is all classily delivered.
All told, this is a highly enjoyable record, which despite being on the safe side offers up plenty of quality and should cement their growing reputation.
‘Great Heights and Nosedives’ by Roam is out now on Hopeless Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)