Album Review: Boston Manor - 'Welcome to the Neighbourhood'
Earlier this year, Blackpool based alternative pop punk band Boston Manor announced they would be releasing their second studio album, which comes two years after the release of their debut album ‘Be Nothing.’ which has since been very well received and has gained the band a huge following in the UK. This has created a huge amount of excitement surrounding their upcoming release, especially following the long stint of festivals they’ve recently being playing; including Download who got an exclusive first preview of the single release of ‘Halo’, and 2000 Trees where they debuted ‘England’s Dreaming’.
On listening to the album, there is a distinct change in sound compared to the bands sophomore album, and we can hear the band maturing and finding a more creative sound. Whilst their earlier work was slightly more fitted to pop punk, their new release may appeal to a wider audience with a more alternative and well worked sound. Whilst the band have managed to cater the album to a wider audience, it still contains a huge amount of rage and less clean vocals. Think Be Nothing, but with more production and anger. It combines elements of pop-punk, hardcore and punk to make something unique, which is something their fans have come to love about the bands sound. When they first came into formation, they were mostly known as a pop-punk band, but this may alter people’s perceptions, and really push them out there into gaining fans from other genres outside of pop punk.
The opener for the album bares the same name as the album itself; ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’. It sets the tone for the album in a well-rounded way, presenting us with a change in sound from the offset, complete with almost an eery electric sound in the background which takes the simple introduction piece to a new level. This eeriness continues into the opening instrumentals of ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’, which is ultimately one of the most catchy songs on the album, and we’re predicting it’ll be a crowd pleaser at upcoming shows this month. The lyrics are mostly simple with the chorus repeating throughout, and not many verses around it, so it’s expected crowds will be singing every word back.
On top of this crowd pleaser, ‘Bad Machine’ and ‘Halo’ are sure to be huge hits due to their early single releases from the band. Throughout the album, there isn’t a single let down in the songs. Each one brings more catchy lyrics and punchy instrumentals, and it might actually be pretty tricky for many to decide on a favourite track. ‘Funeral Party’ brings even more anger with frontman Henry Cox screaming lyrics such as “You’re a liar and a cheat, I want my money, I want you dead, YOU FAKE.” This album really does pack a punch and I can only see the band progressing in popularity through it’s release. The professionalism in sound; the uniqueness whilst still appealing to wide audience; the snappy lyrics; these are all things that will jolt them forwards in the music scene and I can see them going far in the next few months, and definitely over the course of the upcoming year. Festival season for them this year was pretty big, and it’s only going to get bigger for them next year.
What truly sets this apart from the UK pop punk scene at the moment is the emotion in it. It’s not teen angst. It’s not a group of boys whining about girls. It’s especially angry lyrics about a variety of topics, some of which seem to reference the state of the UK, with lyrics such as “give me something to do, give me a job” and "give me cheap alcohol, put me on the dole” in ‘Funeral Party’. Other lyrics seem to tackle problems many young people are dealing with in this generation with references to the people around us such as “You’re a mess I should’ve cleaned, you’re a tired old routine and you’re dragging me down with you” in ‘Tunnel Vision’, and “All my friends are drunk, blind, deaf & dumb” within ‘England’s Dreaming’.
In our interview with Henry earlier this year at 2000 Trees festival, he had even said of the album ‘people aren’t getting mad anymore’ and the band aims to bring back that emotion to a scene that is currently overwhelmed with sad tracks. Perhaps with the release of the album, this will inspire a new wave of pop-punk and give us even more to get mad about.
Words by Hayley Fearnley
Welcome to the Neighbourhood is out now via Pure Noise Records