Boston Manor's Experiments on 'GLUE' Don't Stick

Boston Manor's Experiments on 'GLUE' Don't Stick
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In 2018, British quintet Boston Manor dropped their sophomore album Welcome to the Neighbourhood, debuting a darker sound and aesthetic. They've continued down their crossover path with GLUE, which sounds more '90s alternative rock than pop-punk.

The album experiments with electronic vocal effects and ballads, neither of which fully land. Effects-heavy leadoff tracks "Everything Is Ordinary" and "1's & 0's" feature dark, abrasive sonics, but they all only serve to obscure Henry Cox's great voice. Meanwhile, ballad "Stuck In the Mud" is four minutes long, but feels like 10. It's a lull that never seems to end. 

GLUE isn't without its highlights. Standout "Plasticine Dreams" segues from chilled-out verses to an emphatic, drum-heavy chorus, with a bright guitar riff keeping the mood from getting too dark. Boston Manor also add screams to the mix on "Only1" and "You, Me & the Class War," the former of which features the album's catchiest chorus.

GLUE will appeal to fans of '90s alternative rock who are looking for more, but will continue to alienate Boston Manor's longtime pop-punk-loving fans. (Pure Noise)