There really isn’t a whole lot that needs to be said about Matthew William Charles and his release Roam. Charles takes on pop punk and goes at it with acoustic guitars, a bass and a kick drum. If you like one song you most likely dig them all.
Roam sounds as if it was done completely live with one or two overdubs. Charles isn’t always in time but he makes it up with enthusiasm. His vocal delivery feels energized as if he can’t get out the words fast enough and also attaches enough urgency that it has a punk rock feel. Musically, the songs mostly revolve around basic chords but occasionally Charles showcases some impressive guitar skills.
Roam starts with “Nothing's Out Of Reach,” which is a one of the highlights on the album. The song sounds a few degrees off from something you might hear from Neutral Milk Hotel. For a punk song you don’t usually find lyrics that are this prolific. He sings, “I look back and see it wasn’t all in vein Through the endless wreckage the bonds have been sustained All the roads that have been forged have remained in tact Through the rivers overflowing I found my way back.”
The next song “Reliance” contains some solid lead work guitar, which adds to the emotional impact. I also thought the vocal harmonies were a nice touch. As much as I liked the lead guitar work on “Reliance” the next song “Roam” has it beat. I was really hoping Charles was going to build on that initial guitar riff but instead he somewhat awkwardly transitions into basic chords.
As the album progresses Charles gets in and out quickly. The songs with the exception of “Young Boy” are all under two minutes. Roam is far from perfect but it is consistent in terms of quality. If you are a fan of pop punk who occasionally yearns for something that won’t wake up your sleeping baby this may be your ticket.
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