“In this record there were no limits. We wanted to push ourselves, instead of being terrified to dip just one little toe in the wrong direction.” – Henry Cox
If you were to start at WTTN and work backwards through Boston Manor‘s discography, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a different band. Swapping grit, angst and a shit-load of fervour for atmosphere, broader soundscapes and an uneasy ambience is a bold move, but one that the Blackpool have paved via using Drowned in Gold as a stepping-stone in between 2016’s Be Nothing and 2018’s sophomore full length.
A somewhat sinister atmosphere has been formed in this record, and the line in England’s Dreaming, “we’ve been led by a shadow, into the shade” echoes exactly what has happened to Boston Manor across the past 24 months. There are remnants of Be Nothing, e.g. in Flowers In Your Dustbin, which transitions the records brilliantly, but overall Welcome to the Neighbourhood is a huge development for Boston Manor. This record complements the band’s desire to add further texture to their already existing multi-layer sound.
Coming in at just under four-minutes-long, Tunnel Vision is the highlight of Welcome to the Neighbourhood (in our humble opinion). Encapsulating everything that this era, and everything that has come before, stands for: cutting lyrics, emphatic instrumentation and arena filling choruses. Resentment comes in hard in the form of “You’re a mess that I should’ve cleaned, you’re a tired old routine, and you’re dragging me down with you” and then again in “You’re dragging me down with you, you’re a broken chandelier, you’re a song I hate to hear and you’re dragging me down with you.” This tell-it-as-it-is attitude is consistent throughout, to be honest.
Bad Machine (single number two) screams “get the hell out of my head” emphasising the demonic, sinister theme; and If I Can’t Have It No One Can resonates an egotistical maniac making sure everyone knows that they are in fact an egotistical maniac.
In short, Welcome to the Neighbourhood offers a new dimension to Boston Manor’s sound and the venues for the forthcoming tour/tours are gradually becoming bigger to suit the newly formed atmospheric sound. There will always (hopefully) be room for the likes of Trapped Nerve and Forget Me Not, but for now we must appreciate that this record is where Boston Manor are at musically.