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Album Review: Backbone by ROAM

UK pop punks ROAM release their debut album Backbone on 22nd January via Hopeless Records. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last year you’ll know ROAM are billed as the bright new hope of UK pop punk. They have the kind of hype that accompanied Neck Deep last year and with that there’s a lot of expectation surrounding Backbone.

As debut albums go, it’s quite the formidable announcement. It’s infectious and instantaneous with all of the eleven tracks proper being of the highest standard. Crucially it’s plainly obvious that ROAM are a cut above their contemporaries. The sound may be polished and have excellent production – yet it retains a raw energy that excites and thrills throughout.

There’s a harder edge to ROAM that makes them standout from the crowd, take the excellent ‘Deadweight’ as an example. It has that pop punk sound mixed with thrashy guitars, similar to what made Sum-41 so captivating in the early 00s. That sounds sits perfectly beside the more conventional and stereotypical pop punk sound of ‘All The Same’ and ‘Hopeless Case’. While neither of these tracks breaks the mould, they’re both of the highest quality. Loads of other bands have released decent pop punk albums over the last few years that have flattered to deceive and ended up becoming boring, ROAM set themselves out from the crowd by taking the template and injecting a level of energy and oomph that gives you sense that you’re listening to something special. Think back to the first time you heard Blink 182 or New Found Glory and you’ll be on the mark.

The crunching guitars at the end of ‘Bloodline’ and the emo leanings of ‘R.IP. In Peace’ are a delight, both tracks standout as potential hits with mass appeal. Whilst ROAM may favour more emotional lyrical content than other pop punk bands it still comes out sounding fun and invigorating. The acoustic lament of ‘Tracks’ gives the band another level of mass appeal (especially with the younger teenage fan base), while the raucous and fast paced ‘Head Rush’ stands out as being one of the best tracks on Backbone. It has the heavier moments blended in with some brilliant hooks and instantaneous punk energy.

Backbone is an excellent album that hits early highs in ‘Cabin Fever’ carried right through to excellent album closer ‘Leaving Notice’. Sure the sound is nothing ground breaking and for some you’ll be transported back to the pop punk days of the early 00s, yet it’s thrilling and enthralling throughout. The sound has mass appeal and it’s nailed on that 2016 is going to be a huge year for ROAM.

AD Rating 8/10

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 100 Albums of 2016: Part 1, 100 – 51 – Alt Dialogue
  2. Album Review: Great Heights & Nosedives by ROAM – Alt Dialogue

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