Boston Manor - Welcome To The Neighbourhood
Pure Noise Records
13 tracks (1 Interlude)
Pop-punk has been on an upswing for the last few years with mainstays and newcomers alike, but, whenever the scene goes through a revamped pop-punk cycle, the music can start to sound very similar. It becomes harder to differentiate yourself from the pack and “make your mark”. Luckily for all of us, there’s Blackpool’s Boston Manor.
Now, saying, Boston Manor, fits comfortably into only the pop-punk genre would be doing them a disservice. They’ve always been good at mixing genres like post-hardcore, pop-rock, and maybe even some emo, to form a really great amalgamation in the "pop-punk" scene. For more reference, you can always go back and listen to their breakthrough debut full-length, ‘Be Nothing’ out on Pure Noise Records. Of course, we’re not here to talk about ‘Be Nothing’ necessarily, but it serves as a great precursor to what ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ is.
And that brings us to ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’, the sophomore full-length release from Boston Manor, through Pure Noise Records. I have to admit, I have been looking forward to this album since I first heard ‘Be Nothing’ and saw the lads (I’ll use the British term, why not?) at a small, cluttered, art gallery playing alongside Rarity, Broadside, and Like Pacific. A great mix of post-hardcore, emo, and pop-punk all under one art-lined roof. It was my first experience of Boston Manor live, but it definitely won't be my last.
The album begins with the title track as the intro, but once you hear the ominous tone that’s set from the start, you realize the song is more of a warning than a welcome. Tone plays a big role in WTTN, often haunting intros lead to catchy choruses, with the appearance of some unclean vocals from time to time to keep the listener on their toes. There’s even the semblance of some breakdowns, although lighter than a metalcore band, they’ll no doubt get the crowds moving (see ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’) if they weren't already.
Throughout the album, Boston Manor keep you guessing as they weave in and out of bitterness and radio-friendly addictiveness. You’ll find yourself bouncing around and shaking your shoulders even though you know the lyrics aren’t necessarily for body-moving joy. But, that doesn’t seem to matter as you navigate through the album, because each track leads you deeper into this bouncy ominous world Boston Manor has created.
It might sound strange to some, but I often heard some The Amity Affliction-esque melodies in ‘Be Nothing’, so in WTTN, I’ll continue the strangeness and say that in certain tracks you can hear Marilyn Manson-esque and Bring Me The Horizon-esque melodies (see ‘Funeral Party’ for a prime example). Not exactly what you’d expect in a pop-punk album, but that’s what will keep Boston Manor relevant in a sea of the similar.
WTTN is fast paced at times, bold, catchy (of course), and it keeps your attention with the storyline it creates because, for one, it's different than anything you've heard. If your heart isn't out of your chest by the final track it certainly will be as the semi-acoustic, epic sounding, 'The Day I Ruined Your Life' ends with a chorus of repeating shouts of "The day that I ruin your life" to the final guitar pick.
In music, people often bring up that the second album for a band makes or break them. I don’t necessarily agree with that statement in all cases, but if it is true, then Boston Manor have cemented themselves as a must-hear band with ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’. It’s one of the most compelling “pop-punk” albums of 2018 and one that begs to be dissected over and over again, and at this time in music, that's the highest compliment you can achieve.