The music industry should really start thanking England more for their contributions. In the past few years, they’ve given us some of the most exciting and accomplished alternative, punk, and indie artist and heralded in new and invigorating trends for the music scene itself. These promising upstarts have ranged from The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, The 1975, and now Boston Manor, with their second full-length album Welcome to the Neighbourhood, can join among those ranks. Welcome to the Neighbourhood is an uncompromising listen, encompassing various genres with equal amounts of rawness and poetic beauty. As a showcase for the band, it’s vivid and hard-hitting and at it’s best moments, full of vision and a startling sense of ambition that’s purely engaging.
Right from the opening track, which shares the name of the album, the production creates a distinct yet visceral soundscape – haunting electronica with synth-pop and heavy rock influences coupled with high-intensity vocal performances and textured atmospherics. Stand-out “Flowers In Your Dustbin” is a strong representation of their sound with gritty guitar work, tight instrumentation, and full-on delivery. In terms of songwriting, the lyrics are distinctly personal and vulnerable, full of vivid imagery but still manage to contain strong hooks and choruses. All of these elements come together to form a cohesive whole, and each track manages to sustain momentum effectively.
In terms of style and substance, Boston Manor take on a layered approach, creating a multi-faceted sonic tapestry in the process. This can be heard on tracks such as “Bad Machine” which incorporates both acoustic elements and pop punk arrangements, and “FY1,” an eerie and ambient synth interlude that fits nicely between the heavier selections. As a musical experience, Boston Manor offer an emotional and exhilarating glimpse into their world with immediacy and sheer commitment.
Overall, Welcome to the Neighbourhood benefits from dense production and rich songwriting. It’s an exciting snapshot of the band and represents their tremendous potential. It’ll be fascinating to see where Boston Manor go next; judging by their work here, this could be a neighbourhood well worth revisiting.
Songs to Spin: “Bad Machine,” “Digital Ghost,” “Funeral Party,” “Halo”