Album Review: Boston Manor – GLUE

Boston Manor push the boundaries with their new release GLUE. 

Out this Friday, 1 May 2020, via Pure Noise Records, GLUE sees Blackpool rockers Boston Manor once again share a record that fuzzes out the lines between what some people believe rock should or shouldn’t be. GLUE is intriguing, it’s messy in the best sense and it is far beyond what you’d expect it to be.

On their new release, Boston Manor take a critical look at the world around them with 13 tracks that reek of fury, despair and dark places, but all to make the listener think about the wrongs in the world and how they can and should be fixed. “I want people to listen to it and feel something and think about things,” vocalist Henry Cox says. “The aim of the whole record is to make people angry. It’s to make them go ‘Well, this pisses me off, how can I change it? What is one thing that I can personally do – that I can start doing today – to make a difference?’ Because we can do better than this. We just need to start.”

Recorded at The Barber Shop studios in New Jersey, produced by Mike Sapone and engineered by Brett Romnes, GLUE also marks “the start of our band finally becoming the band that we want to be,” Cox explains. “It’s taken us so long to get here, but I’m really proud of us for becoming our own thing. Not once did we think about what people wanted to hear – we just went entirely down the rabbit hole with it. Our only rule was to do what we wanted to do. Even when thinking about playing the songs live, we just decided to figure that out later and move forward with what we wanted to make at that point in time in the studio. And I’m really happy that we did that.”

Opening track Everything Is Ordinary is everything but ordinary. It blasts with ferocious punk rock energy and dusts off any doubt that what’s to come is fairies and butterflies. But if you’ve listened to Boston manor’s last record Welcome To The Neighbourhood, you wouldn’t be under that impression anyway. On Everything Is Ordinary the fuzzy drums and synthy sounds mix with the grungy riffs set the tone for the rest of the record.

The band’s latest single Plasticine Single, and track three on GLUE, is full of anthemic vocals and memorable riffs, and one we can see being that fan favorite at shows.

Vocalist Henry Cox explains: “Plasticine Dreams is about the throw away culture of media. How art is treated as “content”; one minute something is plastered everywhere you look and the next it’s faded into obscurity. I also feel like because it’s so easy to go viral now it also encourages people to make ‘content’ rather than art. We’re getting so much information constantly thrown at us that nothing is really absorbed or appreciated, you just click next when it’s finished.”

Terrible Love has all the makings of a 00’s emo moody love song, its heartbreaking vocals and gloomy bass make you just want to wallow in your pain alone in your bedroom. It’s not about romanctic love in the classic sense though, it is much more a conversation with oneself. “That song is all about me,” Cox admits. “I’ve never written or talked to myself like that before, but last year I was just in a really, really bad place mentally. I’m still coming out the other side, but I’m really trying to take care of my mental health a lot more in 2020. I’ve never really categorically listed what I didn’t like about myself, and it was very cathartic to do so in this song.”

Just as gloomy is On A High Ledge, where the narrator discusses toxic masculinity and how our society tell young boys they have to behave and feel and think. “Father, I think I’m different / I don’t like playing with the other boys” Cox sings hauntingly. The build up from a slow, quiet intro to a fast-paced fuzz mirrors the expectations being piled onto young boy and men until they reach breaking point.

Without a doubt our favorite track off the record is You, Me & The Class War, it takes from classic punk influences on riffs and grunge as well as lyrically. There’s an in-your-face energy that’s confrontational and taking on divide in British society between not just the classes but old and young generations as well.

Similar to On A High Ledge, Stuck In The Mud tackles the topic of toxic masculinity. The subtle melody beautifully “I missed my mother on the train today, I wish that I could call her and make it go away. Now I’m twenty something and it’s not okay. Be a brave soldier and find your own way” is an extremely poignant line and showcases the ways in which boys are raised to not show their feelings.

And if you thought Boston manor wouldn’t leave you with an absolute tune at the end of the record, think again. Monolith is momentously huge – it’s incredibly angry and angsty, a big middle finger to the people making the world a worse place. We’d even go as far as to say it’s got battle anthem characteristics.

With GLUE, Boston Manor not only give us a record that is lyrically a call to arms we desperately needed, but also musically it provides comfort, energy and anger all at the same time. It’s a true testament to what this band can and will achieve, and we are 100% here for all of it.

GLUE continues the evolution of Boston Manor by breaking the boundaries of genre and continuously taking a hard look at the world around them. They give Britain’s youth a much needed voice and tackle topics not often talked about – Boston Manor are a British treasure and GLUE will show this to the world.