Since their start in 2013, British band Boston Manor has been making waves in the punk scene both stateside and abroad. While they hit the ground running with a few EP releases, the band’s 2016 debut full-length, Be Nothing, has received rave reviews from their ever-growing fan base and critics alike.
Their upcoming album, out this Friday on Pure Noise Records, builds on the band’s previous material and pushes genre boundaries with the addition of electronic influences. While it may not be what fans were expecting, the layered and intriguing album definitely does not disappoint.
Welcome To The Neighbourhood is set in a fictionalized version of Blackpool, the band’s once charming seaside hometown, which turned into a drug and poverty-stricken community. The dark and eerie mood of the album marks a shift in Boston Manor’s sound, yet still stays true to their English rock roots.
From the opening title track, the aesthetic of the album is clear: Each song has this unmistakable grittiness and bleakness within both the instrumentals and the lyrics.
Haunting vocals and the distorted mix of synthesizers connecting each song creates an atmospheric, almost post-apocalyptic, feel.
Motifs of drugs, addiction, and hopelessness run throughout the record only furthering the decay and harsh reality of the setting. “I’ll never be free,” vocalist Henry Cox sings on “Bad Machine.”
The final song of the album, “The Day I Ruined Your Life,” provides a sudden change from the grunge of the rest of the album. The track starts and ends with an acoustic guitar, a string-inspired background, and ethereal vocals, juxtaposed by the prominent rock guitar work through the middle song.
Visuals released in conjunction with the album play with the aesthetic as well. The eye-catching red monochromatic video for “Halo” and the high contrast black and white video for “Bad Machine” works towards the ominous tone.
While the album may seem like a drastic departure from Boston Manor’s previous releases, the quality of their sophomore album surpasses the band’s early work and grows on the listener with each play.
Welcome To The Neighbourhood is available on Friday, September 7.