This Boston Manor article was written by Lauren Geary, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
‘Saudade’ marks the first release for pop punk five-piece Boston Manor since signing to Pure Noise Records, of The Story So Far and Gnarwolves fame, earlier this year. By definition, the emotion ‘Saudade’ comprises feelings of desire, reflection, pensive sadness, and an overall sense of nostalgia; a fitting term for this four track collection.
‘Saudade’ wastes no time, and packs an instantaneous punch, quite literally, with the numbing and sombre opening vocals of ‘Gone’ thrown into the chaos of thrashing guitars and percussion just eight seconds in, and juxtaposed with a spectrum of clashing emotions. It is everything that an opening track should be and leaves no time for deliberation. BostonManor display a new dimension within their songwriting, whereby in ‘Gone’ they escape the verse/chorus/verse structure to mix up elements of light and shade and keep audiences guessing, yet the flow of the song is not compromised, with incredible control shown in all areas.
Next comes ‘Trapped Nerve’, the standout track of the EP, accompanied by raw and angst framed lyrics, and an abundance of atmospheric guitar breaks. This track showcases the more vulnerable side of Henry Cox’s vocals, with layered harmonies as he sings “I hope the voices in your head only whisper today, but I know they scream instead”, before erupting into the thundering pop-punk that BostonManor do best. This track is packed full of lyrics that will strike you with emotion, and brash musicality that flippantly heals and dismisses it.
‘Asleep at the Wheel’ aligns BostonManor with their characteristically bolting velocity and is all about the thundering percussion. It does well to lift the solemn tone of the EP, if only for a minute, but it is enough to give the EP the optimum level of diversity, whilst fitting with the wistful tone that ‘Saudade’ mandates.
Finally, ‘Shade’ is a punchy and cacophonus mixture of elements that combines fast-paced pneumatic guitar riffs with hard-hitting bass tones to create a track that is taut and full of tension. Combine this with the abrasive and distinctly British vocals of Cox, and BostonManor have created a brutally honest offering, where the levels and tones are perfectly balanced in a track that could otherwise easily be overdone.
All in all, there is nothing in BostonManor’s sound that is exactly revolutionary, gritty British emo-tinged pop punk is what they do best. ‘Saudade’ is a statement of intent, and helps to advance what could otherwise be considered an oversaturated genre. Aided by a progression in the metaphorical value of their lyrics, BostonManor have created a definitive sound for themselves, something that is not easily achieved through four tracks alone.