Eastbourne’s pop punk kings are back at it again; resurrecting their trademark bouncy riffs and catchy choruses that we’ve been so fond of since 2013’s Head Down. Follow up Great Heights And Nosedives opened up countless doors for ROAM: touring across the USA with their peers Like Pacific, and gracing prestigious festivals across the globe to name a few. It seems that new record Smile Wide is set to catapult these guys back right back into the limelight of this heavily populated scene.
Album opener 'Better In Than Out' sports a classically angsty pop rock riff from the off, channelling influence from bands like American Hi-Fi to create a youthful bop we could all get behind. It’s easy to picture the singalongs that this single’s breakdown will create; a perfect opening single for these guys, full of unleashed energy.
It’s clear why 'I Don’t Think I Live There Anymore' was the first single to be released from this record - a perfectly mastered pop rock hit with a soft edge. Dual vocals from Alex Costello and Alex Adam compliment each other perfectly from the outset; a delicate edge with some underlying angst peeping through.
These feel-good vibes can be found in all corners of this release. 'Piranha' has a strong All Time Low influence attached, serving soft bops and catchy choruses that are undeniably feel-good. 'Toy Box' continues the positivity and proves that rebellion can be fun, serving hazy riffs and a dreamy singalongs to make for another perfectly poised and angsty track.
Whilst the majority of this release follows the perfected pop punk formula, there are some areas that feel somewhat out of place. 'LOUD' in particular struggles to make an impact; it seems to lack lyrical spirit, as well as any form excitement that’s so prominent throughout the rest of the record. Album closer 'Turn' is a misstep too - it provides a dose of melancholy that Smile Wide doesn’t necessarily require, and it takes away from the naive, charming personality this record builds up in almost every other area. However, the strength of Smile Wide in other areas makes up for these minute flaws.
While Smile Wide has a clear teenage target audience, it seems to hold more lyrical and musical maturity than any of ROAM's previous releases. It provides a sense of rebellion that has taken over the role of heartbreak, proving that feel-good angst is what all pop punk bands should aim to nail. ROAM have proved time and time again that the UK pop punk scene is alive and kicking. Smile Wide is the epitome of this heavily adored genre; light, bouncy and full of teenage angst.