BOSTON MANOR are:
Dan | Ash | Henry | Jordan | Mike
From the opening moments of ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’, Boston Manor’s second full-length album, it’s clear that the Blackpool, U.K.-based five-piece are not quite the same band they were before. That’s because – just like anyone and anything – they’ve changed with time. They’re still very much Boston Manor, but their musical and lyrical focus is shifting. That doesn’t mean they’re leaving their past behind, rather, they are building on the sound of 2016’s debut full-length,‘Be Nothing’, to understand and transition into who they are now in 2019.
“I think the time between the last record and this one, we kind of thought we knew who we were,” explains vocalist Henry Cox, “but we’ve realized that even now we’re still figuring that out. Before, we were scared to try stuff, whereas on this record there were no limits. We wanted to push ourselves, instead of being terrified to dip just one little toe in the wrong direction.”
The band – completed by guitarists Mike Cunniff and Ash Wilson, bassist Dan Cunniff and drummer Jordan Pugh – immediately draws you into the carefully-crafted world that serves as the setting for these new songs. That world is an unapologetically bleak one, a world rife with poverty and drug addiction, boarded-up shops and a population unable to escape a predicament they didn’t even know they were in. “My generation is financially and culturally barren,” he says. “We can’t afford to buy a house, we’re very much paying the price for our parents’ generation’s mistakes, but at the same time too fucking lazy and distracted and comfortable to do anything about it.”
While Cox is also keen to point out that this album is neither politically-motivated nor one taking arms against his parents’ generation – “If anything,” he chuckles, “it’s more of a stab at my generation”– the 12 songs on the album have nevertheless been shaped by the tumultuous state of the world and Cox’s own worries for both its future and the future of his generation.
That disenfranchisement is soundtracked by a barrage of appropriately dark and ominous synths inspired by the likes of Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, Tool and Failure. Whether that’s the hip-hop-inspired swathes of sound of the album's title track, or the wash of doomy electronics that underpins first radio single ‘Halo’, which starts out with a forlorn, slow-tempo guitar and then explodes in an overpowering onslaught of scorching, searching, scathing and nihilistic feedback, before fading once more into the abyss of sad contemplation.
Despite the new sounds that infiltrate this record – which was recorded by Mike Sapone (Taking Back Sunday) – Boston Manor are just as ferocious and immediate as ever. They may be embracing new elements in their sound but the band’s new album is just as emotionally-charged and meaningful as ever. With that comes a hope that this album, by addressing the issues it does, can have a positive impact on the future.
“I’m just trying to draw attention to a few issues,” he says. “The things that are important to my generation are just so trivial in my eyes, but who am I to say? I can’t really offer any immediate solutions, but I can try to throw a bucket of cold water on some of my peers, to just get them to feel more and think more and not be so apathetic.”
BOSTON MANOR are: