Boston Manor began their rock stardom journey in 2013 with the release of their first EP, Here Now. Three years later, Be Nothing put them on the map and showed a darker side to the enthusiastic Pop-Punk of the time. Their sophomore release, Welcome To The Neighborhood (Pure Noise) manifests into a dramatic avalanche of progressive pop-punk expressed through emotionally driven, raw lyrics—leaving behind what you would typically think of pop-punk.
The band from Blackpool, UK, deliver an album that might surprise fans because it ‘s quite different from their debut. It is dark, melodramatic and heavy at times and often, the theme of anger towards their hometown is evident—they are not holding back any emotion.
The self-titled track presents a dark atmosphere and much of the energy you will come across with the release. ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’ follows with catchy chorus and a striking energetic, bass riff in the breakdown brought on by Dan Cunniff. The dark lyrics in ‘Halo’ are chilling to say the least. Vocalist, Henry Cox brings it to the album with intense vocals—a very powerful element in this album. ‘England’s Dreaming’ possess as this lively tune with heavy hooks and stylistic vocal chops.
The dark ambiance continues with ‘Funeral Party’ accompanied with heavy guitar riffs by Mike Cunniff and Ash Wilson. Gritty vocals make an appearance in ‘Digital Ghost’ and everything you knew about pop-punk does not exist at this point in the album. ‘Bad Machine’ exemplifies the remarkable harmonies among the bandmates.
This deep into the album, grim and eerie themes are persistent and evident. ‘Hate You’ epitomizes that and the feelings come across vividly in the vocals. The album does reach a downfall with ‘The Day I Ruined Your Life’, which is not a bad song as such, it just brings the album to an odd, acoustic ending that is not needed. It’s been a trend this year to end an album with an acoustic number as a powerful statement, but it doesn’t work here.
Welcome to the Neighbourhood is a dark take on the pop-punk world. It represents grittier guitars and vocals that are almost theatrical. Boston Manor have crafted a well-integrated album within their own style that pushes things further in the genre—reminding listeners that pop-punk comes in all shapes and sizes.