Boston Manor "Welcome To The Neighbourhood" Review
“Welcome To The Neighborhood” is more of a scoffing remark than a friendly hello given with a smile, but that doesn’t mean you won't feel right at home.
The record opens with its title track, quickly making it apparent that it has its own atmosphere: a place as much as a feeling and an era. Dark sky, a feeling of electricity. Red bricks and hard feelings. Waves crashing on a pebbled shore and tensions building. The instrumentals are clean and expertly used to create a sonic space for any listener willing to be transported. While the single “Halo” and others can certainly stand on their scream-along-worthy own I think it would be a missed opportunity to not allow these tracks to be experienced together.
As Henry Cox said in our interview earlier this summer; “I’d be lying if I said the record relates to direct personal experiences. It’s more of an observation of things I see; both at home & abroad. Blackpool where we’re from (the aforementioned neighbourhood) is definitely a part of it, but it’s intended to be a metaphor of the wider cultural landscape.”
“Flowers In Your Dustbin” encapsulates the cultural time capsule of the album. A nod to Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” (also from track 4: “England’s Dreaming”) which was released in 1977; these references seem to be used as a juxtaposition of how times change but so many political/social issues only adapt to the current time while being rooted in the same issues. Maybe not so much a dislike towards environment but a need to protect, to demand for better, and an overall frustration for endless cycles. This image; colorful blossoms in a dingy can of waste provides a strong visual for the record whether intentional or not. This art is left open to interpretation so anyone can really make it their own or chose to look at in the artists’ context, but regardless it holds meaning without being alienating. It holds both responsibility and accountability for a generation so universally caught between the two.
“Hate You” is another standout; these tracks are alt radio-ready in a very natural way. Some may associate radio with a negative connotation but rather it speaks for the band's maturity and vulnerability on this album cycle. It dips into a vibrant spectrum of influences and paints its own unique work of art.
There's something about albums that offer closure with their last track I'll always appreciate and “The Day I Ruined Your Life” has just that final scene quality ambiance that leaves you with a sort of permission to reflect and move on. It's a sigh of a relief, turn the engine off, loosen your grip feeling that can hard to find in such a non-stop lifestyle so many of us live. So pause. Take a second. Take a journey. And hey, welcome to the neighborhood.
By Hannah Hines