Boston Manor - Welcome to the Neighbourhood
By: Erin Cavoto
“If you could leave you would” – the ominous words that welcome you into Boston Manor’s latest release, Welcome To The Neighbourhood. The pop-punk band’s sophomore album rocks hard, facing no sophomore slump in the slightest. While many bands struggle to top a strong debut album with their follow up, Boston Manor proves that there’s only one way forward for them – up.
The 13-track album is full of the angry, angsty lyrics that satisfy on any pop-punk album. Yet it also delivers a heavy blend that we’ve come to expect from Boston Manor, likening the band to artists like Royal Blood or Nothing But Thieves. Welcome To The Neighbourhood establishes Boston Manor as much more than a pop-punk band, proving that the Blackpool natives know how to bring the oomph.
The band teased singles “Halo” and “Bad Machine” before dropping the album, both songs serving as strong precursors to what the album had in store. “Halo” delivers dark lyrics wrapped in a chorus that lingers for days after, themes of loss and regret thick in the song as well as the rest of the album. “Cold sweats in the morning/Real life’s become boring/I’ve tripped and I’m falling” laments frontman Henry Cox, driving home the track’s despair and weariness. “Bad Machine” slows down the tempo, echoing ideas of technology’s toxic pervasiveness that are also evident throughout the album like in the track “Digital Ghost.” The narrator agonizes over being watched and tormented, justifying his actions: “I’ll never say sorry/I’ll never be free.”
Other stand out songs on the album include “Flowers In Your Dustbin” and “Funeral Party” which amp the album up, the band delivering on their impressive creation of haunting hooks that jam hard. Guitarists Mike Cunniff and Ash Wilson groove all throughout the album, but particularly on tracks like “England’s Dreaming,” “Stick Up,” and “Hate You” with their slick, hypnotic melodies, accentuating the ominous, anguished lyrics. “The Day That I Ruined Your Life” closes out the album on a slower, somber sound that builds, leaving the listener with a feeling of a beautifully powerful unease as Cox croons repetitively about the “Day that I ruined your life.”
Welcome To The Neighbourhood is a stand-out sophomore effort from Boston Manor, immediately sucking the listener in to the dark, foreboding world masterfully painted throughout the album. The genre-defying rockers have two fantastic albums under their belt, proving their ability to confidently defy genres and no doubt ensure a promising future ahead.