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Album Review: ROMP - Sorry, Not Sorry

A romp is a fun and energetic event, full of the youthful carefree moments that were so frequent before things like school and emotions got the best of you. We’ve all been to romps, had romps, created romps, but as we grow older we’ve either lost interest in the types of release that adolescent hijinks offered, or we simply don’t have time for them anymore. New Brunswick’s own Indie quartet ROMP, lead by vocalist/keyboardist Madison Klarer and fleshed out by Lucas Dalakian, Mitch Gollub, and Luke Bamford represent an interesting twist on their moniker.

Their lyrics, which typically focus on ex-fueled spite and newfound comfortability with being alone, are shrouded in an upbeat early 90’s fog that’s full of life and wonder. Sorry Not Sorry may first and foremost function as a, “breakup,” release, but what sets this album apart from those with a similar theme is that it embraces that foolish self from yesteryear, the version of us that was okay with making mistakes in the name of youth.

The album’s single, “Portrait,” captures this essence in its simple yet empowering chorus: “I don’t want to be anyone’s anything,” croons Klarer with 20/20 hindsight. It’s an ode to the lessons learned from some time spent being unhappy, delivered with eyes that have finally found their focus. Later in the song she sings, “Even though we’re apart, and I’m saying all this s***/You’ll always have my heart, every single little bit,” a very level-headed acknowledgement of the lasting impact that even the most frustrating of relationships have on who we become.

The rest of the EP honors its inspirations through varying degrees of emotional intensity. In the aftermath of anything that you’ve invested yourself into, you’ll have moments like the acid-spitting damnation of, “If Your Head Gets Any Bigger You’ll Float Away,” which in conjunction with the chorus of leadoff track, “Drive,” (“Drive/Keep me always on your mind/I think about you all the time) paints an identifiable picture of growing pains and recovery processes. Is it all a bit contradictory? Sure. But that’s the point. We’re all guilty of contradiction, especially when moving through transitional periods of our lives. ROMP understands this and celebrates it, with an attitude perfectly embodied by their album title.