Boston Manor
Glue


3.5
great

Review

by Jesper L. USER (27 Reviews)
May 1st, 2020 | 48 replies


Release Date: 05/01/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A delightful identity crisis

Boston Manor are one hell of a confusingly interesting band: incapable of finding their own sound, yet more than competent at writing stunning songs, Glue is quite something. With this new record, the band seem to solidify the idea that they’re not willing to stick with a single winning formula, whether that be the clean-cut pop punk of debut LP Be Nothing, or the more polished, yet unnecessarily repetitive alternative rock of follow-up Welcome to the Neighbourhood. While both garnered widespread success and acclaim, arriving within two years of its predecessor, Glue has more in common with Brand New’s Daisy than anything Blink-182 has ever put out, and, well, it’s a mess. An occasionally delightful mess.

The entirety of the record can be summed up through three different case studies, eh, songs: “Liquid”, “Everything is Ordinary” and “Plasticine Dreams”. The former, simultaneously functioning as the lead single for Glue, really isn’t all that special. If anything, the song is rather reminiscent of the band’s previous record, boasting a stadium-sized chorus and rather unremarkable if solid instrumentation. Nonetheless, Trophy Eyes’ John Floreani’s guest vocals add an interesting layer as his deeper tones compliment frontman Henry Cox’ voice beautifully. Lyrically, it’s fairly standard fare for Boston Manor: slightly above average, in this specific case dealing with uncertainties regarding one’s personality through elaborate metaphors of liquidity.

“Everything is Ordinary”, however, is anything but inoffensive. The opening cut is an absolute attack on the senses, with its obnoxious electronics, distorted drums and horrendously unnecessary vocal filter. In spite of this, it proves somewhat addicting: as annoying as the song is, its simplistic chorus solely consisting of “everything is ordinary now” is catchy as hell. Yet, it is somewhat unclear why Boston Manor made these stylistic choices: a decent pop punk song (that would undoubtedly have gone over much better with a wider audience) is buried underneath the stroke-inducing production. Props to the band for experimenting, I guess, yet it appears to be a case of experimentation for the sake of experimentation.

Lastly, “Plasticine Dreams” is a drop-dead gorgeous track. The song presents a more grunge-inspired sound, reminiscent of contemporary bands such as Basement and Balance and Composure. Clearly rather well-suited for the sound, Cox’ elegant, somewhat laid-back vocal melodies drift comfortably atop excellent instrumentation from the entire band. With the mix subtly focusing on a superb bassline, the crystal clear production makes one wonder why “Everything is Ordinary” had to sound like.. that. Yet, with “Plasticine Dreams” being as delightful as it is, such things don’t really matter anymore. Hell, the song and its peers of this kind (“Ratking”, “1s & 0s”, “Monolith”) prevent Glue from being just another failed experiment and elevate it to above-average levels of quality.

Because, altogether, Glue is a difficult record to decipher. It’s hard to even view it as an album since it is absolutely useless at being a coherent one, and yet, it does wind up being a worthwhile listening experience. Perhaps the haphazard and somewhat obnoxious flow of the record is the point: as abruptly as “Everything is Ordinary” ends, “1s & 0s” introduces itself with similarly heavy elements, yet succeeds to a much greater extent besides merely relying on catchiness. Similarly, the inoffensive “Liquid” is followed by the massive “Monolith”, which functions as a brilliantly all-encapsulating closer: occasionally unpleasant, somewhat brilliant and fully baffling. Glue is not exactly Daisy, but tries its hardest to achieve that record’s levels of quality, and comes surprisingly close at several points. Don’t expect a consistent album: expect to find several diamonds in the intentionally rough.




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user ratings (66)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
May 1st 2020


905 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool new mixtape

Digging: As Real - Marvelless

Dedicated1
May 1st 2020


144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is absolutely superb. In my top 3 albums of the year along with Loathe and Polaris after only 1 listen.

Lucman
May 1st 2020


4376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yep, agreed with this all the way. It's a mess but it's an enjoyably crazy one. I still think these guys have yet to hit their potential, but they're going....somewhere. I'm on board.

Digging: Hum - Inlet

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 1st 2020


34910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never heard these guys before but you had me at Daisy.

Digging: Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways

Scheumke
May 1st 2020


1772 Comments


Sounds interesting. Had quite a fun time with Welcome to the Neighbourhood so will def jam. Good review bro. Pos'd

Digging: Pain of Salvation - Remedy Lane

JesperL
May 1st 2020


905 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks scheumke!



yeah like tldr the highlights make this more than just a mildly enjoyable mess, i could seriously go on for days about how much i love plasticine dreams

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2020


9785 Comments


Everything is Ordinary is the worst song I've heard this year

Digging: Nuvolascura - As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination

dannooo28
May 1st 2020


150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Came to the same conclusion after first listen, it is kind of all-over-the-place in terms of album flow but enjoyable songs are enjoyable songs.

WatchItExplode
May 1st 2020


8180 Comments


Sounds like they're trying to relive the glory years of Fall Out Boy.

edit: then Scars On Broadway, then Filter

...and a bunch of aughts radio rock

SymbolicInTime
May 1st 2020


6113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wasn't a fan of their last album, but have liked everything else they put out. Daisy comparison and my past affinity make this a must check

Muppelope
May 1st 2020


1905 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Everything is Ordinary isn't one of the highlights here but it's not that bad. Idk.

Digging: END (NJ) - Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face

dannooo28
May 1st 2020


150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I don't think it's close to worst song of the year lmao, but to each their own. That little synth (I think it's a synth?) line during the chorus is catchy as fuck.

JesperL
May 1st 2020


905 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

everything is ordinary is definitely the worst song on here but it really isn't as bad as i thought on first listen.. it just /sounds/ rather awful, lol

CriticalMyth
May 1st 2020


22 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is wonderfully schizophrenic in the sense that you're never quite sure what tone the next song is going to deliver. Some of the songs are more of the same from the previous album, others are something entirely else. As a result I'm enjoying parts of it but completely unsure of my overall opinion. On the other hand, it's practically begging me to give it additional listens to form a more thorough opinion, so that's a positive sign!

SymbolicInTime
May 1st 2020


6113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I could definitely see this growing on me. The streak of 1s & 0s through through Playing God is wonderful. Monolith and Rat King also rule. Opener is just fucking awful

dannooo28
May 1st 2020


150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah the idea of Everything Is Ordinary I can get behind but it sounds like a fax machine



Highlights for me rn are Plasticine Dreams, You Me & The Class War, Brand New Kids and Monolith

JayEnder
May 1st 2020


7289 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Went into this thinking I was gonna hate it. Production wise, I still hold true to that. The fuzzy, distorted guitars and effects on Henry's voice do NOT mend well.



Still... Some of the songs on here are ridiculously awesome. Only1 and Monolith go so hard

JesperL
May 1st 2020


905 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

honestly if you take the highlights from wttn (bad machine, stick up, england's dreaming, funeral party) and the ones on here (plasticine dreams, 1s & 0s, monolith, ratking, only1), you'd have an insanely good album.. hoping they'll be able to put out such a consistently great record in the future

gravityswitch
May 2nd 2020


185 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm really confused by these guys. First album was a well written and coherent pop-punk record. Second one was a huge mess of excellent / awful alt-rock songs mashed together.

This one seems to follow that road, with even more effects on Henry's voice, which to me is a horrible choice. Neighbourood grows on me though, so I hope this one did too.

Digging: Protest the Hero - Palimpsest

SymbolicInTime
May 2nd 2020


6113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Spent some more time with this because the highs are ridiculously high. Shame that there are four abysmal songs strewn between them. Cut those out and you have an easy 4 on your hands



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