Boston Manor – GLUE (Album Review)

Boston Manor – GLUE
Released: May 1st, 2020

Boston Manor Lineup

Henry Cox | vocals
Mike Cunniff | guitar
Ash Wilson | guitar
Dan Cunniff | bass
Jordan Pugh | drums

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The way Boston Manor blend sound is a thing to worship, and luckily, we have a new record to help along our devotion. They’ve maintained a nice two-year gap between albums (2018’s The Neighbourhood was stellar) and now we have their eagerly awaited third album GLUE! I don’t understand why the hype around this band isn’t bigger, they deserve adoration on a grand scale and with this album, I hope they get it.

Let’s kick it all off with the opening track ‘Everything Is Ordinary’, which almost bursts into being with an industrial/synth driven feel, a mechanical vocal effect that I didn’t like at first but yeah, okay it’s grown on me, and some sneaky screams in the chorus. And, oh boy is it fast paced; it’ll jumpstart your heart for sure.With ‘1’S & 0’SBoston Manor take a step further into chaotic territory. It’s a bit Brit punk and on first listen perhaps a bit much. It has a mad, choppy breakdown in there too. But you know those people who, when they dance, look like they’re seizing? This is a song for them. The Peter Garrett’s of the world on steroids. I can see this song being played at the end of their live set, one more chance for the crowd to lose themselves before the lights go dark and the band walks off.

And ‘Plasticine Dreams’! Oh, it’s an instant hit. It features lovely, melodic vocals, it’s uplifting and makes you feel good. This is the song everyone will be singing to their mates in the crowd – “hey you / you’re a star” YEAH I AM. I reckon at its core, ‘Plasticine Dreams’ is essential Boston Manor, it’s not their most experimental or shocking song, but it’s a classic in the making. Decades down the track, this will be on the Boston Manor Best Hits album.

Terrible Love’, what can I say other than it’s emotional and heartfelt with a dash of angsty rock. And just within these first four songs on GLUE, Boston Manor are genre hopping like there’s no tomorrow. And no, that’s not a bad thing at all! They really can do anything. ‘On A High Ledge’ seems to confirm the theory that Boston Manor really can do everything, with a flowing soundscape of drawn out vocals, lengthy chords and soft keys. It’s a song that fades into the background, but not in a forgetful way.

If you were almost in a meditative state, well, ‘Only1’ will surely snap you out of it. It’s rocky with cleans and screams, it’s almost a bit playful the way they play with both extremes; the harshness of the screams and softness of the cleans. And this track has attitude. And a sort of wobbly guitar solo – yeah, I know that sounds weird but just listen to the song and you’ll understand, okay? But if you want something a bit more, check out ‘You, Me & The Class War’ because it’s heavy with some harsher vocals mixed in there. But if you want a really, really cool drum beat, let’s talk ‘Playing God’. This is one of those ear-catching songs with brilliantly understated riffs and seductive vocals. It’s a yes from me.

I like some good piano and ‘Brand New Kids’ delivers. It delivers even better drums and guitars though and I’ll just say it now – it’s a winner. Sultry vocals (Henry Cox what are you doing to us) that hit such sweet highs; it’s like sugar, you won’t know you’re addicted until you are. ‘Ratking’ follows the same sort of road as ‘Brand New Kids’ but to me, it’s just missing something. I’m not entirely sure what, but I feel like in comparison to all the other tracks it falls a bit short. But ‘Stuck In The Mud’ is a beautiful song. It’s minimalistic, soft and the lyrics are something else. I love how it’s predominately piano with soft percussion and highlights of guitar. This track leaves you wanting more.

BM 2 by Edd Taylor

And we come to ‘Liquid’! This track was released last year and it burrowed into my heart and head and is there to stay. Guest featuring our very own John Floreani (Trophy Eyes), he and Cox are a match made in heaven. It’s catchy, addictive and builds in all the right places. It’s the perfect segway into the final track on GLUE, ‘Monolith’. This song rounds off the record with abrasive screams bursting, seemingly, out of nowhere. It’s a ‘stick it to the man’ type song with chanting of “hey you, fuck you too / I’ll do what I want when I want to”. It’s a real headbanger this one, and dare I say it’s influenced with a hint of Beartooth? But wait! Before you even know it, there are synths sliding in and soon they take over the entire song. It morphs into a softness, imitates the wind blowing and invites a dainty piano melody to come to the front before slow vocals take you out. Boston Manor completely flipped this song on its head and all you can do is listen in awe.

Boston Manor have honed in on their style and simultaneously branched out very wide on GLUE. It’s very hard to summarise, and I think that’s exactly what they were going for. There are immediate standouts, and those are the songs that are perhaps more easily consumable because they relate to the Boston Manor we’re already familiar with. But those other songs? They’re expanding on the edges of what we know of this band, and once we can wrap our heads around them, they’re easily standouts too.

Each track is very individual, but the essence that is Boston Manor flows through each and every one, and that is the linking factor. That’s why this album works. It’s Boston Manor doing whatever the hell they want and slaying the game.

Glue BM

Boston Manor – GLUE tracklisting

1. Everything is Ordinary
2. 1’S & 0’S
3. Plasticine Dreams
4. Terrible Love
5. Only1
6. On A High Ledge
7. You Me & The Class War
8. Playing God
9. Brand New kids
10. Ratking
11. Stuck In The Mud
12. Liquid feat. John Floreani
13. Monolith

Rating: 9/10
GLUE is Out May 1st, 2020 via Pure Noise Records / Sony Music Australia. Pre-Order here.
Review By Ebony Story

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  1. Henry Cox – Boston Manor ‘Music That’s Special To You In Your Heart’ – Wall Of Sound

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