Derry alt-pop prodigy ROE is one of those artists which feels an ever-present on the local scene. Since 2016, the artist flexed an ability to craft unique and intimate tracks with strong mainstream appeal. Following a whirlwind few years, including an arena tour with Snow Patrol and a debut UK tour, recent releases, such as the infinitely catchy ‘Girls’ and the powerful mental health anthem ‘Down Days’ has ensured ROE has made good on the hype.
In her latest EP Things We Don’t Talk About we see ROE’s most cohesive and mature project yet, perfecting the artists craft of emotionally involved pop bangers. ‘Hotel’ immediately imposes the vulnerability and openness of ROE’s lyrics in a dark, slow building track which erupts into a thumping electro-pop chorus. An instant declaration of maturity in a melancholic track which offers simultaneously serene and urgent production. The increasing urgency throughout the track flows seamlessly into ‘Look who’s on TV’, a towering synth-pop anthem with a persistent, driving beat creating a track which is as infectious as it is emotive.
‘Room to Breathe’ is a stripped back swaying semi-acoustic track which perfectly encapsulates ROE’s sad-pop style. An honest and mental health conscious song which puts additional emphasis on the emotion which effortlessly comes with ROE’s vocals, the track shines the spotlight on ROE’s song writing without reliance on her signature brand of electro-pop. A majorly playlist-able track, it is little surprise the track has seen the most streaming success of any prior releases. ‘Marco’, sees ROE expand on the running themes of insecurity that are present throughout the project, with a track focussed on anxiety which comes with a quest to feel seen. Coupled with the artist’s signature dreamy synth stylings and a fragile, emotional vocal performance, ROE has added to a growing list of poignant, honest and frequently vulnerable tracks. Yet she manages to maintain a vast emotional reach, even when coupled with beautiful, sparkling pop production.
Closing track ‘A Quiet Place’ is a piece of punchy pop perfection akin to a chart-topping Sigrid single. In keeping with the artist’s signature brand of soaring, dreamy pop chorus’, the verses come with an attitude that ROE’s discography hasn’t frequently contained. In a project stacked with melancholy, these moments with intense groove and fat synths with assured vocals culminate in a track that oozes personality in a perfect close to the project.
With each track on the appropriately named ‘Things We Don’t Talk About’ EP openly explore themes of mental health and insecurity; ROE’s unique and ever-maturing brand of sad-pop goes from strength to strength. Packed with as many irresistibly catchy moments as there are devastatingly open moments, the EP sees ROE continue to develop her sound, while not shying away from the attributes that lead many to tip her for a mainstream breakthrough.