Blackpool based quartet Boston Manor have been floating around for a number of years now. They have made appearances across festivals and numerous tours, stealing away fans for themselves. They make their return with their follow up to their 2016 debut, with an album of many elements – Welcome to the Neighbourhood.
It’s known that Boston Manor doesn’t take any shit from anyone, and this sophomore record just rectifies this further. A constant theme throughout the thirteen tracks appears to be about rising against the oppressing environments around us. While there is a familiarity within Welcome… that relates to their debut album, Be Nothing, there is a stronger sense of growth for the band. The five-piece have pushed back the barriers and explored past the much of the post-hardcore and pop-punk genres to find something completely unique and new.
The title-track and album opener is haunting yet brilliant, setting the bar incredibly high for what is to follow. The atmosphere is deep and incredibly dark which turns out to suit the band perfectly. Its eerie vibe grips you from the get-go, making for a powerful start and this bleak dystopian environment continues through the next two tracks; ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’ and recent single, ‘Halo’.
‘Halo’ features an alluring variance of tempos and soaring vocals that is bound to shake any room when they eventually come to play it live on their upcoming UK tour. In the space of three tracks, the band manage to show that they are certainly not playing it safe with this sophomore record. Very early on it becomes clear that Welcome… is shaping up to be their best collection of tracks to date.
Angst levels frequently make brief appearances across a number of songs including ‘Digital Ghost’ and ‘Funeral Party’. Both songs enjoy a balance of grainy vocals and gritty instrumentals that further proves that Boston Manor are taking a whole new direction with this record. Traces of pop-punk are almost non-existent now and they’ve taken their music leagues above the rest of others in this environment. They’ve basically taken what You Me At Six have attempted and just blew it out of the water.
The beauty within track 8, ‘Bad Machine’, lies within the combination of raw, unyielding vocals with a softer grace that blissfully harmonises together. Because of these underlying elements, it pushes the track to become one of the standouts from the whole album. ‘Hate You’ also contains plenty of darker themes, which is understandable given the title. The density of the word ‘hate’ is very high, perhaps hinting some strong opinions from vocalist Henry Cox.
This is an album that truly shows off what Boston Manor are made of. They have embraced a new sense of freedom that enables them to not just produce good music, but produce jaw-dropping great music. This could be a massive turning point for them that they have eagerly been awaiting and truly deserve. If you’ve been questioning Boston Manor previously, then this is a must listen that will swiftly remove any concerns.
Welcome to the Neighbourhood is out on September 7th via Pure Noise.