Tom Hobden & Eliot James Present: Roam

Tom Hobden is a classically-trained violinist and has performed, written and recorded with Noah and the Whale, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling. Eliot James is a producer and musician based at Eastcote Studios in West London who’s worked with the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club and Bloc Party. Their credentials speak volumes of their experience in the world of pop. With the help of the Budapest Film Orchestra, the pair comes together to create evocative compositions which touch the heart.

Each song on Roam plays out like a scene from a film. From the twilight beginnings of ‘LaMadrugada’ to the haunting atmosphere of ‘Letter from Budapest’ and the jolly stroll of ‘Plessey Wood’ this album presents a journey of breathtaking scope. The staccato rhythms and legato swells of the latter bring to mind certain locations in The Legend of Zelda series. 

Roam‘s beauty lies in its constituent parts but as a collective whole, it’s too stop and start.

It’s not only the strings which impress. The accompanying piano melodies of ‘Houseman’s Theme’ and ‘South for the Winter’ are delightful. But the key focus here is the celebration of strings and their inclusion in popular music. There is no doubt that in this regard it’s mission accomplished. However, there are a couple of things which bother me as I listen.

The compositions are short; the longest of the bunch not even reaching three-and-a-half minutes. As a result, one doesn’t stay in the locations and moments portrayed for very long. To add to this, a lot of the compositions end rather abruptly. There doesn’t seem to be much consideration for a gradual conclusion to each track. ‘The Long Mynd’ and ‘Epicurean’ are prime examples. Both are beautiful and expressive in their composition and arrangement but are swiftly cut short when you least expect it. 

Roam‘s beauty lies in its constituent parts but as a collective whole, it’s too stop and start. 

Noteworthy Details

Harmonious collaboration
‘A Foreign Field’ is achingly beautiful
Too short, with many abrupt codas




Track List
1. La Madrugada
2. Arctic Spring
3. Houseman’s Theme
4. The Long Mynd
5. Letter From Budapest
6. Mixolydian
7. Chromatics
8. Sleep Faster
9. Plessey Wood
10. A Foreign Field
11. Equal Spaces
12. Epicurean
13. South for the Winter
14. Time & Tide