The alternative rock group, Boston Manor, released their third studio record on May 1st titled GLUE. These English boys have accumulated a very passionate fanbase with each era of album releases and GLUE seems to be no different.
This record pushes the boundaries while still remaining to sound like the authentic Boston Manor that fans adore. "Everything Is Ordinary" is the first track and was also the first single to introduce the impending full length. This song showed an experimental side of the band that most fans were not anticipating. Despite being caught off guard by the distorted vocals & new sound, their audience grew to appreciate their versatility in the scene. Placing it as the first track definitely sets the tone wonderfully for the rest of the record.
Track 2, "1's and 0's," introduces more of their industrial influence with some muffled, compressed vocals layered on top of a punk rock anthem about getting through the anguish of life. The bridge wallows, "You don't wanna hear my problems / It's all my fault 'cause I went and got born" right before screaming "set it off!" cueing the last chaotic chorus. To come down from that aggressive high is the following track, "Plasticine Dreams," which settles us down with enamoring guitar reverb & an addicting chorus. It's also one of my favorites off the album as I've already talked about it over on another blog post, so I'll move on to the rest.
Photo by Edd Taylor
"Terrible Love" coming in at number 4, starts off with a laundry list of unredeemable qualities from the perspective of frontman, Henry Cox, following it with the desperation for attention & validation from others. This feeling is all too familiar for most as it's so easy to become fixated on accessible gratification especially nowadays through social media. This slower rock tune emulates the distress & discomfort through the waning guitars & pleading vocals. One of the other singles, "On A High Ledge," continues this theme of longing for something more while also tackling the subject of toxic masculinity with lyrics like "Father, I think I'm different / I don't like playing with the other boys / Father, I'm different / I like the way the flowers smell." This track also touches upon darker tones of contemplating suicide with the imagery of standing "on a high ledge" as it is hauntingly chanted throughout the song. Track 6, "Only1," is introduced with fierce guitar progressions & a booming bass-line before screaming the words: "Why do only bad things seem to happen to me?" (which happens to be very relatable, at least to myself.) Glancing through other people's thoughts on the record, it also seems like this track is a common favorite. Wonderfully complemented with this song is the following, "You, Me And The Class War," which makes me desperately miss live music because all I can think about is how hard this song is going to go off at a show. Boston Manor waste no time with this one as they kick off with yelling "I'm getting bored of waking up alone" and a rapid melody before winding it down to the chorus of introspection. This musical rollercoaster only continues especially during the bridge where the vocals are but a faint mumble built up to a raging battle cry of "this ain't love, this is a class war!"
"Playing God" is the following track (which immediately made me think of Paramore's "Playing God" but I will try my best not to compare.) This track in particular reminds me of their earlier material, specifically from Be Nothing. There's something about the layered vocals of singing & screaming with the chorus's grunge melody that feels nostalgic to their sound. The guitar progressions between verses are hard & heavy and only intensify during the bridge. Next is "Brand New Kids," which incorporates gritty vocal with an infectious pop punk hook. The lyrics of "I'm in love with a drug & it loves me too," kicks off the chorus of self-reflection of how reliant we may be on others. "Ratking" was another one of the singles dropped in March yet it still feels brand new, even though you've learned all of the words by now. This track, in my mind, is a perfect combination of their Be Nothing sound with their Welcome To The Neighbourhood sound.
Nearing the end of the record at track 11, is their power ballad "Stuck In The Mud." Cox's synthesized vocals are guided by the evocative piano and drums as it builds to the pinnacle of feelings by the final chorus. The yearning for the once blissful childhood becomes overwhelming as the feeling of being lost in your current state takes control. Shortly after this retrospection is a single that was released late last year with Trophy Eyes' vocalist, John Floreani, called "Liquid." So, if you haven't heard it by now, what are you doing? Even if you do already know it, it's definitely still worth listening to in order to fully absorb the whole album. Last but certainly not least, is track 13: "Monolith." Panicked screaming of the lyrics "lock the door & hit the gas" greet us into this whirlwind of what's soon to be a mosh-pit anthem. The chorus of this track has to be one of my favorites in this scene of whatever genre you want to consider it. There's just something so liberating about shouting "Hey, you! Fuck you, too!" into time & space. While this seems to be one of the more aggressive songs from Boston Manor, they recoil the hostility with an elongated fate out into a delicate piano melody & faint, haunting vocals. Overall, a wonderful sonically cohesive record to listen to especially while in isolation.
Make sure to check out Boston Manor on all of their social media platforms & stream GLUE below. Let us know your thoughts!
Written by Deirdre Kelly