Album: Welcome To The Neighbourhood
Review by: Dana Hope
From the moment the title track Welcome To The Neighbourhood begins, you know you’re in for a ride. Boston Manor’ssecond album is a fantastic mix of older styles that can be heard on their debut album Be Nothing and EP Saudade while morphing into a developed sound that fits perfectly into the 2018 scene. With a quick-lipped, rap style pre-chorus, backed by a subtle beat is a style of sound that is very prominent this year. As the chorus comes in, surrounded by keyboards and percussion, listeners have emerged into the ‘neighbourhood’
These light tones and soft percussions are cut short as you dive into the album. The music itself becomes heavier and the lyrics become darker as the tracks go on. Vocalist Henry Cox describes how Blackpool, their hometown and where most of Boston Manor’s songs are written, was once a booming tourist destination that has declined into a drug infested, high unemployment rating, broken little town.
This is referenced in Funeral Party, where the lyrics “Give me cheap alcohol & put me on the dole” alongside “I’m falling & I can’t slow down. In a hole with no way out”, is an insight into what occurs when there is high unemployment. People use alcohol as a coping mechanism while they struggle to find a job or keep their homes. This decline can be rapid and an extremely hard situation to get out of. Hopefully with the platform that Boston Manor have, they can shed some light and hope onto this once busy coastal town to get it back to where it was.
Flowers In Your Dustbin and Tunnel Vision are two of the catchiest songs on the album, that will have the crowd going mental when they are played live. The lyrics are dark and don’t mean to be political but can be related to so many issues that those around us face every day. “I take my meds, I live through my phone”, lyrics from Flowers In Your Dustinbin points out how many are stuck in a haze, influenced by technology. Filming concerts through phones instead of being in the moment, having insights into people’s lives via social media in more depth than humans are designed too. This amount of information can be unhealthy to many, resulting in a high number people nowadays needing medication to help them get by and deal with their mental illnesses, many stemming from issues that are targeted or created via social media.
Tunnel Vision with its slow, creepy introduction of keyboard and synths, has a sharp pull in of guitar and vocals that capture a raw emotion of a relationship that has gone wrong and the decline that is inevitable. With the ideology of being stuck in a car, trapped and unable to escape as we’re “heading for the edge”, many may relate the story told throughout the lyrics with being trapped in a toxic relationship with no way out. I certainly did.
The second single released, Bad Machine shows the raw emotion that is living throughout this album. Bound by heavy guitar riffs and hard percussions, all of which appear in Hate You and Digital Ghost, these songs are intertwined perfectly throughout the album to allow a great sound that flows from one song to the next, similar but so different at the same time, while they scream old-school Boston Manor with a modern twist.
Closing off the album is a heartbreaking, tear-jerking acoustic track “The Day I Ruined Your Life’. Easing from soft guitars into electrics screeching through the track, drawing out the angst and emotion of the lyrics and themes displayed throughout the album before fading back into acoustics, and into nothingness.
Boston Manor has done wonders with this album, exploring dark and deranged themes and emotions that many artists are scared to get into. From drug abuse and unemployment to death and emptiness with declining mental states, this album will put you through the wars but in turn will make you think more and feel more, forcing listeners to not be so apathetic.
Welcome To The Neighbourhood is available September 7, 2018. You can see Boston Manor in the UK for a headline tour and in North America with Real Friends this year. Tickets for both tours are available for purchase here, and you read our interview with the guys at this link.