Label: Pure Noise
Release Date: 07/09/2018
It’s been remarkable to witness just how quickly Boston Manor have blossomed since their inception in 2013. From early EP’s to 2016’s debut full-length Be Nothing, the seismic leap in both quality and maturity has been nothing short of staggering. Once pigeonholed into an often stagnated pop-punk scene, the North-West five piece have taken all but half a decade to flourish from underground upstarts to now seemingly on the brink of mainstream rock stardom. With that in mind, it comes as absolutely no surprise that Boston Manor have yet again, overhauled their approach with new record, Welcome to the Neighbourhood.
While the risk of alienation likely plays on the minds of most bands during any album launch, choosing to kick things off on familiar ground is a smooth and sensible choice. Following the title track’s brooding opener, ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’ is a punk rock stomper, not too distant at all from the heavier side of Be Nothing, and armed with a chorus built to engulf stadiums. Closely followed by the album’s lead single ‘Halo’, it’s the perfect icebreaker to introduce a sudden stylistic change in the band’s repertoire.
‘England’s Dreaming’ is the first real indication that Boston Manor have taken a shift in direction that’s drastically absent from their pop-punk roots, and a telling sign as to where they’ll likely be heading on future releases. Solemnly slower paced, hugely anthemic, and seemingly unashamed to swing for a sound so much more accessible than anything they’ve ever released before. The likes of ‘Digital Ghost’ and ‘Tunnel Vision’ follow in similar fashion, enveloped with high quality layers of electronic and vocal sampling like an ode to modern day Bring Me The Horizon, repeated listens are necessary in order to really get the full picture here.
What’s vitally important, is a level of aggression can still be identified through the lyrics and vocal delivery of vocalist Henry Cox. I can’t stress how paramount this is to maintaining Boston Manor’s identity, it’s this sharper edge that the vast majority of their peers fail to possess, and for me it needs to stay indefinitely.
While I’m ecstatic Boston Manor have yet again shifted into a style that fits them like a glove, admittedly at times Welcome to the Neighbourhood does flirt dangerously with sacrificing some of the identity that made them so brilliant in the first place. ‘Bad Machine’ doesn’t sound too dissimilar from the likes of peers You Me At Six, the difference at least, is you won’t catch Josh Franceschi singing about heroin addiction any time soon. And while it’s yet to take the full plunge towards contemporary radio rock built for the mainstream masses, Welcome to the Neighbourhood still has enough snarl to separate Boston Manor from the rest of the herd. Other bands should be taking note of their approach, it might help them actually develop some personality themselves…
Welcome to the Neighbourhood deserves your attention, and more importantly your patience. It feels like the record Boston Manor should be releasing after they’ve had another two or three album cycles under their belts, boasting ideas remarkable for a group still in their infancy. What matters most to me, is this newer direction doesn’t feel forced, doesn’t feel unnatural, and doesn’t feel like a band clutching at straws for commercial reasons. Permitting Boston Manor continue marching to the beat of their own drum, the next record we see from them could be on the cusp of an all time classic.
Welcome to the Neighbourhood will be released 7th September 2018 and is available to order via Pure Noise Records.
Recommended Tracks: Flowers In Your Dustbin, Tunnel Vision, Halo