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ALBUM REVIEW: Boston Manor dive into the depths of twilight on 'Datura'

by Shannon Garner. Published Fri 14 Oct 2022 09:55, last updated: 11/11/22

Refusing to limit themselves to one genre, Boston Manor are constantly evolving. From their pop-punk debut to their experimental alt-rock of 2020’s ‘GLUE’, the Blackpool quintet continue to push genre boundaries by blending together the unexpected. Emphatically shoving aside any pressure to make drastic creative changes, their fourth record, ‘Datura’, is a sound of a band comfortably settling into their status and finally finding their ground. Thematically taking place over one night on which dusk has fallen, ‘Datura’ speaks to the maturity the nu-emos have garnered and spectacularly showcases Boston Manor’s creative growth.

Channelling Nine Inch Nails with moody synths and electronics to build the tension, the album’s opener, ‘Datura’, instantly expresses the universe Boston Manor are aiming to create. Beginning with a minimalistic drum beat that looms over the slow-building track, the electronic ambience gives way to a soulful, almost broken frontman, Henry Cox as his gentle vocals sink you into the album’s world. The cinematic opening carves out something familiar yet twisted as the instrumentals begin to build; the latter makes it stronger, making the pensive track the perfect segue into Boston Manor’s world.

Rumbling with an undercurrent of electronics that give way to crashing guitars, ‘Floodlights On The Square’, ‘Foxglove’ and ‘Passenger’ kick out familiar rumbles of brooding Boston Manor riffs. The introspective anger of ‘Floodlights On The Square’ showcases moments of nu-metal-esque electronic distortion, which gives way to banger breakdowns both musically and lyrically, whereas the vitriolic catchiness of ‘Foxglove’ and ‘Passenger’ represent the Blackpool nu-emos at their anthemic peak. The rousing tracks, similarly to their ‘Desperate Times, Desperate Pleasures’ EP, lightly explore a poppier side to their rock-infused blend whilst displaying Cox’s catchy vocal hooks by the dozen.

Though subtle, the balancing of dusk to dawn is a key aspect of ‘Datura’. Despite its darker sonic palette, the record thrives when it hones in on those darker tones for its softer, more hopeful tracks such as ‘Shelter From The Rain’ and ‘Inertia’. The spellbinding ‘Shelter From The Rain’ reinforces Boston Manor’s hypothetical world as it cinematically bridges the gap between the tracks, continuing the story of the depths of twilight, with a moody yet whimsical soundscape through its rain-filtered run whereas ‘Inertia’, showcasing Cox’s sedative and gorgeously soft vocals, oozes vulnerability as it gently unfolds. As the emotional closers final seconds fade and the wailing guitars from the start become distant sirens, Cox ends on a more hopeful note as he pays tribute to those he holds closest: “It's a new world outside / Let the big wide world in,” he encourages, leaving the audience hanging on and wondering about the records second instalment.

Short but sweet, ‘Datura’ remains a thrillingly consistent record from a band determined to push themselves and hone their craft. The seven-track record is solid argumentation that Boston Manor are at their best when they hone in on crafting their hypothetical worlds, emphasising incendiary instrumentation, in order to strengthen their already impressive sonic palette. In creating their most cohesive record to date, ‘Datura’ explores genres in a way no other band has. It shows the quintet looking deeper into the experimental side of their impressive blend and combining it with a visual aspect that feeds into everything else the band create. Boston Manor may be out of the emotional slums of Blackpool, but it’s always going to be the place they draw cinematic inspiration from, a muse if you must, and we can only hope the second instalment is just as strong.

Boston Manor’s fourth album ‘Datura’ is out now.


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