Cold, intimate and ferocious – Boston Manor’s GLUE is their most ambitious record to date
Since 2013, Boston Manor have not rested their laurels. If you listened to the band’s debut LP – Be Nothing. – you would be correct in thinking that they had unearthed a healthy blueprint for success, but 2018’s Welcome To The Neighbourhood was introduced to the world and ripped up everything people thought they knew about the Blackpudlian 5-piece. Both stellar offerings, Boston Manor have established themselves as one of the hottest bands in the alternative scene thanks to their impressive musicianship and explosive live performances. Now, less than two years on, on the cusp of the release of their third LP, it is time to find out a little more about the new direction they are heading in.
GLUE – based solely off the album’s singles – feels to be the band’s most ambitious outing to date. Liquid, the first single that was released from the record, is the closest to the textbook ‘Boston Manor’ sound out of the bunch. Its fluid verses and soaring chorus vocals, which in this instance are matched up with the dulcet tones of Trophy Eyes’ John Floreani, are incredibly infectious. This quality carried over into Ratking, which is one of the band’s grungiest efforts to date. While its verses pulse, the chorus is massive and injects some energy into the latter parts of the tracklisting. Everything Is Ordinary kicks off the album in a similarly energetic fashion. Its release grabbed the attention of fans for not only its abstract sound, but it’s jarring visuals and really laid out the foundations for what could be expected from the album. The other singles, Plasticine Dreams and On A High Ledge, begin an excavation into the softer underbelly of the record.
At its core, GLUE is an abrasive look at society. Differing from Welcome To The Neighbourhood, which excavated some of the issues experienced by the band in their hometown of Blackpool, GLUE seems to be questioning the wider state of the world. The likes of Plasticine Dreams, On a High Ledge and Stuck In The Mud are slower, more delicate explorations into a number of prevalent underlying issues, including the culture of toxic masculinity that is rooted in our society. While lyrically these songs are impressive, they are easily washed over in the grand scheme of the fluctuating LP. Contrastingly, another vice used by the band to explain their troubles in this record is the sheer fury.
1’s & 0’s and You, Me & The Class War are jagged, layered ditties that stay with you long after listening – both of these songs strike the right balance between lyrical content and power. However, standouts Only1 and Brand New Kids really steal the show. Only1 is a hybrid of Boston Manor’s electric live performances and the swagger showcased in 2018’s Welcome to the Neighbourhood. Henry Cox’s crooning vocals are prevalent in both these songs and really leave you wishing that they were on display in their full glory a little more throughout the record. Each of these songs are sure to whip fans into a frenzy when live shows return as key dates in the calendar.
While the quieter moments do have some glimpses of magic, it is these brash tunes that command your attention and make you want to come back for more. These stark, abrasive songs also pair flawlessly with GLUE’s visuals. Everything from the artwork for each of the singles, to the music videos and even the album cover itself, is creative, unique and really captures what this dark album is truly about.
Aside from the visuals, the soaring highs of this album come in its ferocious moments which showcase the sheer talent and maturity that the band have honed over the past few years. This album is brave and has gutsy qualities to it, however – as a collection of songs – it feels disjointed and falls short when stacked up against their impressive discography. While this album is different, time is sure to prove that Glue standout tracks will be welcome additions to fan’s playlists and the band’s setlist.
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