Boston Manor - 'GLUE' Album Review
1. Everything Is Ordinary
2. 1’s & 0’s
3. Plasticine Dreams
4. Terrible Love
5. On A High Ledge
7. You, Me & The Class War
8. Playing God
9. Brand New Kids
11. Stuck In The Mud
12. Liquid (feat. John Floreani)
Blackpool five-piece Boston Manor have returned for their third studio album 'GLUE'. In the same way that their second album 'Welcome To The Neighbourhood' ramped up everything from their debut record, Boston Manor have once again pushed themselves further than ever before.
'GLUE' is, on the whole, a less personal album than previous Boston Manor releases, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lost any passion. Vocalist Henry Cox has said “It's about the state of our fucking world right now, it’s interesting that the album is going to come out at the very start of a new decade, because a lot of it is about the challenges we'll face in this decade. First and foremost that's climate change. Then there’s austerity and the tyranny of big government and big corporations. And it’s also about addiction and mental health, which includes our need for physical validation because we all just seem to live these fake lives online.”
The album begins on single ‘Everything Is Ordinary’, which blends electronic sounding vocals with a consistently fast, frantic pace and a memorable guitar riff that serves as the perfect introduction to a newer style for the band. With lyrics on the topic of how we’re becoming desensitized to tragic and horrific events, it also sets up the wider themes and ideas that 'GLUE' tackles.
This is followed by ‘1’s and 0’s’, a pure Punk song full of vitriol confronting the increasing generational divide in post-Brexit Britain. In this track the aggression is turned up to eleven, with the band wearing their frustration on their sleeve in this track, leaving nothing on the table. It serves as “the rallying cry of the whole record” in the words of Cox. After a fuse-like 10 second introduction, the track explodes with riffs and feedback from guitarists Mike Cunniff and Ash Wilson, paired with the solid bassline and drumming from Dan Cunniff and Jordan Pugh respectively. ‘1’s and 0’s’ refuses to let up and is sure to get your blood pumping.
The album also ventures into a slightly slower, more contemplative state, which begins with the almost soulful ‘Plasticine Dreams’, which includes an incredibly spacey riff throughout the intro and chorus, providing a phenomenal variety and texture to the album. ‘Terrible Love’, a self examination on the part of Cox, comes next. “That song is all about me,” he admits. “I've never written or talked to myself like that before, but last year I was just in a really, really bad place mentally. I'm still coming out the other side, but I'm really trying to take care of my mental health a lot more in 2020. I've never really categorically listed what I didn't like about myself, and it was very cathartic to do so in this song.” The sinister and ominous ‘On A High Ledge’, follows, one of two tracks on the album to tackle toxic masculinity and the prevalence of ‘man up’ culture that will stay with you for hours after you listen to it.
The album increases the aggression again on the tracks ‘Only1’ and ‘You, Me & The Class War’. ‘Only1’ is a menacing track which sees Cox really unleash a scream rarely heard throughout the band’s discography so far, and the song’s guitar solos from Cunniff further prove the evolution of the band’s sound. ‘You, Me & The Class War’ is extremely deceptive in its opening seconds, until Cox once more unleashes his scream and the entire band comes crashing in with short, energetic bursts. This track is once again filled with pointed ire and rage, especially with the crescendo of the repetition of the song’s title, making this a track that is sure to become a staple of the band’s electric live set.
‘Playing God’, to me, sounds like it could be a track from 'Welcome To The Neighbourhood', which is no bad thing. It has a creeping, winding riff that provides a bridge to the other releases from Boston Manor. It maintains the aggression found within 'GLUE', but takes a more reserved approach, however it doesn’t feel out of place.
‘Brand New Kids’ and ‘Ratking’ keep the energy flowing, with both tracks including very powerful and different riffs. It's a shame, however, as they almost get lost within the album, but they nevertheless have their place.
The second track to tackle toxic masculinity comes in the form of ‘Stuck In The Mud’, a highly emotional track that provides the album with another lull in terms of pace. The song feels extremely vulnerable, you can feel the pain that Cox felt whilst writing this song and as a result is one of the most impactful tracks to be included on Glue, and perhaps one of my favourite tracks that Boston Manor have ever released.
‘Liquid’, which features Trophy Eyes’ frontman John Floreani, maintains a slightly slower pace when compared to some of the other tracks, but still undoubtedly has that distinct Boston Manor attitude, with atmospheric guitars and a memorable chorus. It was an interesting choice to have as the first song released for the new era of the band, as I feel there are other songs on the album that would have worked better, but it is understandable as it sounds very much like a bridge between eras for the band.
'GLUE' comes to a close on ‘Monolith’, a massive behemoth of a track that serves not just as a culmination of the album, but Boston Manor’s career so far. Full of angst, rage and ire, it is the heaviest track the band has released to date, which reflects the changes occurring in the world right now. The chants of “Hey, you, fuck you too” in the chorus drives home the anger the band experienced during the writing process, and as a result has created a song that is sure to become one of the band’s most iconic.
'GLUE' is definitely a culmination of Boston Manor’s journey so far. They’ve said it’s the start of them becoming the band they want to be, and as a result it feels like they’re more comfortable on this record. They’ve become less trepidatious and more adventurous in their scope and vision, and I can’t wait to see where they go next.
Website - http://bostonmanorband.com/