Album Review: Boston Manor – Welcome To The Neighbourhood

Credit: Joshua Halling

Are you ready to step into Boston Manor’s world? 

The Blackpool outfit are releasing their second album Welcome To The Neighbourhood via Pure Noise Records on 7 September, that is this Friday.

Produced by Mike Sapone (Taking Back Sunday, Mayday Parade, Public Enemy) at New Jersey’s Barber Shop studios in the dead of winter, the album’s story of disenfranchisement incorporates an ambitious new approach incorporating swathes of sound and pulsating synths into Boston Manor’s punk-fueled oeuvre. It’s an album that’s inspired by the likes of Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, Tool and Failure.

Welcome To The Neighbourhood, does welcome you to the neighbourhood, the neighbourhood of this album that is. The title track has all the markings of a fine opener, from its big bass to the eerie chanted chorus. It’s followed by the anthemic hooks and grungy Flowers In Your Dustbin.

Halo picks up on that same big sound, you can really see this record being played in arenas of this country sounding just as huge as on the album itself. the riffs roar and the chorus is oh so addictive. “Halo almost got scrapped & didn’t make the album,” vocalist Henry Cox admits. “It was a totally different song, much slower and moodier. About a month before we went into the studio we reworked it entirely & it morphed into this current incarnation. It’s a song about feeling trapped; being in a vicious cycle & not knowing if there’ll ever be a way out.”

Boston Manor’s latest single England’s Dreaming takes the crown of being the most powerful track on Welcome To The Neighbourhood.  Vocalist Henry Cox says that it’s “Probably my favourite track on the record. The song’s about waking up one day and realising you have nothing in common with your fellow man.” This feeling of isolation and an over-riding sense of bleakness is a thread that can be followed through much of Welcome To The Neighbourhood. It’s an affecting collection of songs that inhabits 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.

“I’m just trying to draw attention to a few issues,” says Henry of the record’s motivations. “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.”

And that’s what Welcome To The Neighbourhood does. Digital Ghost for example picks up on the fact that we are all glued to our phones and screens, “reality is such a bore” Cox sings with despair. In If I Can’t Have It No One Can the band address the nature of social media and they way it can make us narcissistic and jealous of possessions, experiences or looks.

With just over one minute FY1 takes your further into this haunted, eerie world. Solely instrumental, it serves as some form of pause to think about the things you were just told. Then in kicks Stick Up. Full of energy and mosh-pit material for sure, it’s got this arena sound to it again, like much of the beginning of the record, mostly thank to the urging drums and pleading vocals.

Closing Welcome To The Neighbourhood is acoustic track The Day I Ruined Your Life. Consisting of only acoustic guitars and vocals for the first minute or so it’s by far the most mellow song on the album. Cox sounds softer, and even when the drums really kick in alongside the riffs it still holds its almost ghostly aura. This song will hit you in the feels, and leave you with a feeling of desperation.

From beginning to end, Boston Manor manage to paint us a haunting picture of the world they see Welcome To The Neighbourhood being set in. At times you feel like you could see yourself in an abandoned theme park listening to this album turned up loud.

Stylistically the record shows that the band have grown since 2016’s Be Nothing without losing themselves. Welcome To The Neighbourhood is a stellar sophomore album and they deserve all the praise coming their way.

Welcome To The Neighbourhood Album release events:
07 Septemeber – The Church, Sheffield (Full band set at 7:00pm)
08 Septemeber – hmv, Manchester (Live in-store & Signing at 5:30pm)
09 Septemeber – hmv, Leeds (Live in-store & Signing at 2:00pm)
10 Septemeber – hmv, Birmingham (Live in-store & Signing at 5:30pm)
11 Septemeber – hmv Broadmead, Bristol (Live in-store & Signing at 5:30pm)
12 Septemeber – Banquet Records, Kingston (Acoustic set & Signing at 6:00pm)
12 Septemeber – Bacchus w/ Banquet, Kingston (Full band New Noise clubnight show)

Welcome To The Neighbourhood UK Tour:
(w/ support from Microwave, Drug Church & Wallflower)
21 Septemeber – Thekla, Bristol
22 Septemeber – Electric Ballroom, London
23 Septemeber – Mama Roux’s, Birmingham SOLD OUT
24 Septemeber – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
26 Septemeber – Hangar 34, Liverpool
27 Septemeber – SWG3, Glasgow
28 Septemeber – Key Club, Leeds SOLD OUT
29 Septemeber – Gorilla, Manchester