ROAM are a British pop punk band from Eastbourne, consisting of members Alex Costello (vocals), Alex Adam (lead guitar and backing vocals), Matt Roskilly (bass), Sam Veness (rhythm guitar) and Miles Gill (drums). The band formed in 2012, signed to Hopeless Records in 2014 and already have 2 albums under their belt. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s third album, Smile Wide. Here are our thoughts on their latest record…
Smile Wide kicks off with ‘Better In Than Out’ – a guitar-chugging anthem with an understated verse that leads right into an intense yet edgy chorus. A slightly darker tone than their previous album and a great way to launch into the record.
Next comes single, ‘I Don’t Think I Live There Anymore’, a great demonstration of their dual vocals and a pretty cool guitar solo – there’s something quite American indie band about it, again demonstrating a more diverse side to their sound.
One thing is for certain, since their previous release, Great Heights & Nosedives, the band have certainly done what I thought they needed to – adapted their sound and tried to bring some new things to the pop punk table – and it’s worked well. Whilst at its core, this is still a pop punk band, there are some moments of diversity and differences of tone that make this a slightly more mature and interesting album to listen to.
Smile Wide showcases just how far the band have come and how they have spent time developing their sound.
For example, ‘Play Dumb’ is a much heavier track than we might otherwise have become used to hearing from ROAM, and it sounds great! ‘Toy Box’ is a cleverly-written track about not being cast aside by clever use of metaphors, with a sensational breakdown at the bridge, whilst closing track, ‘Turn’, is very different in tone to the rest of the album. It’s much more middle of the road rock, than pop punk but nevertheless a beautiful track that stands out from the rest with its rather mellow, reflective and positive vibes and lyricism, making it a wonder end to the record.
There’s no mistaking the British roots of this band either, with their rather over-pronounced British accent on tracks like ‘The Fire On The Ceiling’ and ‘Red & Blue’ – both great pop punk songs with the latter using more grungy guitar sounds and the album’s title appearing within the lyrics.
One track in particular that possibly stands out for being quite poor, is ‘Loud’ – the lyrics are not well written and the guitar sound is pretty shrill and unpleasant to listen to, however I’m sure pre-teen emos will adore it.
Conversely, the two best tracks have to be: ‘Piranha’ – a very Simple Plan-esque song with funky rhythms and very chantable vocals. What stands out even more is how it switches up pace part way through, showing another improvement to their evolving sound. This could really be an iconic live track for the band; and then there’s ‘Hand Grenade’ – it has an excellent, calm intro that leads straight into rapid-pace drums and long, held vocal notes sure to have people belting it out. In particular, the imagery of the lyrics resonates wonderfully with listeners and great gang, “na na na,” chants take us right to the end.
ROAM have done a great job with this album; Smile Wide showcases just how far the band have come and how they have spent time developing their sound, testing the waters of something new, but whilst still keeping their roots in the genre they know so well. Considering these developments over just a couple of years, I wonder what they’ll sound like in a couple more?! I certainly can’t wait to hear what they do next, can you?
‘Smile Wide’ is out 06/09/19 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/smile-wide/1468023906
Smile Wide on Spotify
I Don’t Think I Live There Anymore (Official Music Video)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.
Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:
Muzik Speaks Album Reviews
Matt – Muzik Speaks