Alec Reviews Music: Roam creates perfect pop-punk formula with ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’

Alec Erickson

With every peak comes a valley.

Album cover for Roam's Great Heights & Nosedives
Photo Courtesy: iTunes

At least that is the core concept with Roam’s latest release, “Great Heights & Nosedives.” The band has put out an album that looks at all the good and bad that comes in life, while putting a catchy and feel good pop-punk feel on it.

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“Great Heights & Nosedives” is something that is far enough away from the group’s debut that it is fresh but still falls into a few clichés.

Roam is an England-based band that has not been around for that long. Getting their start back in 2012, the band has been hard at work on touring, recording and just playing music. Their debut record, “Backbone,” came out in early 2016 and in many ways was a stereotypical pop-punk record about girls, hometowns and friends. There wasn’t a whole lot of depth to “Backbone,” but it was catchy and fun, and that is what matters. When it comes down to it, the style the band puts out between vocalist Alex Costello and Alex Adam works well fornot only harmonies but song structure as well, and they take that and run with it on “Great Heights & Nosedives.”

“Great Heights & Nosedives” is a 11-track record that clocks in at around 33 minutes in length. What will strike most fans is the shift in production style, songwriting and scale of the record. While “Backbone” was a step in the right direction for Roam, this record is exponentially a larger and more important move for the band. Lyrics begin to have some life and move away from shallow concepts, and songs themselves have these more refined and rounded out sounds to them that give the band an edge.“Great Heights & Nosedives” is a record that moves away in some ways from the pop-punk clichés but not completely.

Musically, guitar riffs and keys are a huge factor in this record for Roam. When you listen to tracks like “Open Water” and “The Rich Life of a Poor Man” you get these chord progressions that make sense and add a bit more structure than we are used to with the band. They take what works well for pop-punk bands and refine those elements. Tracks like “Curtain Call” start out with just one layer and build slowly over time. The fact that you are listening to a large ballad takes you by surprise. It is hard not to find something that you will enjoy and move along to with on this record as there are tracks like “Left for Dead” and “Scatterbrained” that have these anthem level qualities about them. Roam clearly kicked things up a notch when it came to the production style of “Great Heights & Nosedives,” and fans will surely notice.

Lyrically, this is where you begin to appreciate “Great Heights & Nosedives” a bit more. Songs are no longer these shallow odes to a girl that broke a heart. Now, songs are about getting better and accepting both the good and bad that come in life. “Alive” is about making it out of something that you are certain is the end of the world, whereas “Scatterbrained” is accepting that you are okay when things are at the worst. There are a lot of genuine feelings. While there are some pop-punk stylings that you cannot avoid, Roam manages to make it work. Tracks like “Flatline” and “While the World Keeps Spinning” stand out purely because they are not only catchy but have melodies that are not basic and are genuinely surprising on your first listen through.

Should you listen to it? Yes

Roam is proving that they can diversify as artists and begin to expand their sound. While “Great Heights & Nosedives” still falls into a few pop-punk traps, it manages to come out on top. There are plenty of anthems for a good time as well as the bad, and Roam really manages to hit home on this record for a lot of their fans. There really aren’t any nosedives when it comes to this record.

More about Roam:

  • The group self-released their first two extended plays before signing to Hopeless Records.
  • The band has supported Sum 41 on tour and have played at Vans Warped Tour.
  • The band’s debut album peaked at 178 on the UK charts.

Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CTV_Ace.

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