Roam – Great Heights & Nosedives

The neo-pop-punk genre is full of dumb, corny bands that are lauded by naive fans, kids in a scene that just don’t know any better. These bands seem quite content resting on their laurels, growing more cliché-ridden and generic with each new album release, perhaps without even realizing it. The music these artists play has long forgotten anything resembling punk rock, but at least they have centered their music around having fun – being positive has long been one the genre’s main focal points. Now, a lot of these neo-pop-punk bands are going negative, making this kind of slowed-down, whiny, sad, neo-emo music that really makes little to no sense for the genre. Pop-punk is supposed to be energetic, happy, fun, but now, many parts of the genre are starting to resemble the Goth Kids on South Park. Being all mopey like this makes these already lame bands lamer than before – now, they’re lamer than lame.

So, along comes Roam from England with their latest record, Great Heights & Nosedives, and it just blows their competition completely out of the water, not ’cause it’s original, not ’cause it’s groundbreaking by any means, but ’cause it sticks to the old-school neo-pop-punk formula when no one else in the genre is following it anymore and they do it better than their more experienced peers. Roam writes some great songs here. They arrange their songs in a more traditional punk rock ‘n’ roll fashion, perform them tightly and with plenty energy, and they don’t just dial it in. The production takes a more stripped down approach, at least for this type of genre, which is highly unusual. Gone are the fake bells and whistles, Auto-Tuning the vocals to death, sound-replacing all the drums, fake guitar/bass amp sounds, etc., and it works out magnificently. Great Heights & Nosedives sounds raw, real, powerful, and crisp. It’s an album done the right way, without cheating too much in the studio, which is quite an accomplishment for such a young band with this little experience, especially in a genre filled with so many safe trappings, fake studio bullshit and a real tendency to be so apathetic as of late.

Great Heights & Nosedives starts off strong and stays consistent until the very end. Very few records do that. No songs are standouts, because they all are – that’s how consistent this record is. It may not be for everyone –it still has the annoying, high-pitched, sing-songy vocals that just seem inescapable with this genre (talented vocalist though) – but the music is real and this record is undeniably super-solid.

Roam’s colleagues in the pop-punk genre ought to be embarrassed if they’re not just downright jealous if/when they listen to this record. Everyone should be put on notice: Roam is best of breed in pop-punk right now.

Great Heights & Nosedives