Boston Manor

Saudade EP

Written by: TL on 25/11/2015 16:52:18

The Blackpool quintet Boston Manor is the newest transatlantic investment by the otherwise mainly American label Pure Noise, and the band made its debut on their new label earlier this month with the EP "Saudade". On it they play the sort of energetic punk-rock full of weeping and sentimental melodies that you feel inclined to label as emo, reminiscent of, yet busier and more forceful than the stuff their fellow Brits Moose Blood presented with success on last year's "I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time".

The four track EP has the feeling of a kind of sampler, where the band leans their core expression in slightly different directions to offer a taste of their reach and potential. "Gone" opens right up with frantic chord strumming leading into a bouncy pace, switching to skate punk tempo and back, and throwing a sunny signature riff in under the chorus. "Trapped Nerve" opens on a more desperate note, sort of like an Apologies, I Have None tune would, at first substantiating emo undertones, only to then churn out some reverberating riffage that would not sit out of place on a Make Do And Mend record. "Asleep At The Wheel" gets started with a bit of pop-punk, yet soon launches into sort of a lovingly nostalgic kind of melody, coupled with another burst of frantic drumming, that for a moment sounds like something the rising Crooks UK could've played. And to end the release, "Shade" includes some mellower bits that are likely to fit the taste of fans of the more introspective turn bands like Basement and Balance And Composure have experimented with in later years.

There are hints of different veins of pop-punk embedded in the songs here, and their dynamic and mood-filled compositions speak of a band you can understand why people would be starting to get excited about. That being said, it's a drawback to the EP that the band has opted to sing by far the most of the lyrics in a forceful, yelled out style, as while it conveys a certain urgency and emotional investment, it also means that the band does not have a higher gear left to go to, when it's time to cap the songs off with hooks and refrains. It would help, perhaps, if the articulation of the lyrics was above the average for scruffy punk-rock, but this is not the case, and thus it will require some focus to put together exactly what's being sung about.

These drawbacks mean that, while "Saudade" casts Boston Manor as a band working with a compelling style, it really lacks a song or two that stand up immediately and grab you. There are occasional, mellower vocal bits, where two layers of vocals sound a bit like something Blink-182 could've on their more emo sounding tracks, and it seems likely that giving these some extra room could make for a more balanced dynamic across the release. As it is now, however, "Saudade" figures mainly as the kind of early taste of something for punk-rock and emo scenesters to make note of and keep their eyes on moving forward. It's a dynamic and energetic EP with a good balance between exhilaration and regretfulness in its tones, but the songwriting feels like it needs some more focused direction, at least within the individual tracks (it would not hurt at all if an album explored the band's various influences, just keeping the amount of ideas per song reasonable). Anyway, not bad overall, but a bit premature to get fully carried away with these guys.


Download: Asleep At The Wheel, Gone
For The Fans Of: Moose Blood; Apologies, I Have None; The Menzingers, Crooks UK

Release date 20.10.2015
Pure Noise Records

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