I haven’t had the time to give Boston Manor a dedicated listen, but I have a friend who’s head-over-heels for the band. I recall some exuberant tracks off of their first album, Be Nothing., and now have the chance to dig into their latest offering, GLUE. Described by vocalist Henry Cox as “very chaotic,” I’m going in blind having not heard any singles before checking this one out.
Beginning with “Everything is Ordinary,” this song is anything but. Autotuned singing is met with melodic punk with a tinge of synth. The electronic elements contribute to a compelling blend of genres in this opening piece. The next track is “1’s & 0’s,” which has more aggressive vocals and profound guitar tones for a more traditional punk vibe. This one’s bridge is remarkable, sure to enlist moshers when live shows make their return.
Single “Plasticine Dreams” has a nice vocal harmony in its chorus and a melancholy presentation, bringing me back to some of Basement’s best work. I could see this hitting alternative radios across the globe. “Terrible Love” is a lyrical fight with one’s self – Cox admits, “I’ve never really categorically listed what I didn’t like about myself, and it was very cathartic to do so in this song.” This lovesick ballad is a highlight track, and proof that albums have great substance apart from the singles.
“On a High Ledge” recalls the dark, somber tone of previous album Welcome to the Neighbourhood. In no way do the instruments take a backseat, as the drum rolls and overlapping guitar riffs complement the depressive vocals splendidly. This is the ultimate song to get into your feelings with. “Only1” has a slow, powerful vibe, capturing a catchy chorus that is sure to stick in your head.
The heaviest song yet, “You, Me & the Class War” is exhilarating and drenched with angst. Fast-strummed guitars in the bridge and plenty of high-intensity screaming make this thrill-ride worth the price of admission. “Playing God” implements an organ in the first verse, and a drumstick clap/emphatic roll in the second, some welcome variety to spice up the track.
Next up is “Brand New Kids,” which is more of the same from previous tracks. “Ratking” delves into a toxic relationship within the lyrics and provides some closure to its fallout. The guitarwork on display is exemplary thanks to its variance between a strong tone in the chorus and delicate delivery in the verse.
Mellow piano ensues in “Stuck in the Mud” as the sadness never fails to come to a close on GLUE. The most prominent single, “Liquid,” features John Floreani of Trophy Eyes, the vocalist responsible for one of my favorite albums, Chemical Miracle. Already amassing 2 million plays on Spotify, people are sure to be hearing this again and again. The album closer is “Monlith,” a vicious front and the quintessential punk track with abrasive abandon.
The range at hand with Boston Manor’s GLUE shows the band can take on many forms and present fresh new ideas to be enjoyed by a wide audience. I’d put this up with genre staples like Citizen’s “Youth” and Balance and Composure’s “The Things We Think We’re Missing” in terms of sad vibes and relatability. If you need an album to accompany these rough times, GLUE may be just what you were looking for.
A review copy was provided courtesy of Pure Noise Records.