When I think of humble beginnings, I think of Boston Manor. The British rock band came together after separating from their previous bands. Their musical journey dates back to March 2013 when Henry Coax(lead vocalist), Mike Cunniff(lead guitarist), Ash Wilson(a rhythm guitarist and background vocalist), Dan Cunniff (bassist and background vocalist and Jordan Pugh(drummer) began making music together in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. Their music style features a blend of pop and punk rock with a heavier emo influence that stems from the 90’s grunge and 2000’s post-hardcore music eras. The Blackpool music scene was not quite promising for them, and the only way to get their music out there was to buy a van and play away from home.
The band owes its name to one of Henry Coax’s friends who sent him a demo with the same title. Unlike other bands, their big break did not come from their first release. They released their first EP, Here/Now, an independent label-Never Mind Records, based in Virginia, on July 27, 2013. The following year on March 31, the band collaborated with Throwing Stuff and released a split EP through Aaahh!!!Real Records. Also, in 2014, the band had their first signing with Failure By Design Records and released their second EP, Driftwood. From a rough start, 2015 was a big year for Boston Manor as they joined Moose Blood(an English emo band) on tour across the UK. They were also supposed to join other bands such as Can’t Swim, Casey Bolles, and Seaway and Hit the Lights for a US tour in the fall of 2016. However, the plan flopped due to Visa issues.
Before plans for the US tour, Boston Manor signed with Pure Noise Records in 2015 and released their third EP, Saudade, on November 20 the same year. The band went into the studio and soon afterward launched their first studio album on September 30, 2016, Be Nothing. Their first headlining tour followed the album release in Europe and the UK. The experience was supported by acts like Can’t Swim and Wallflower. They also took part in the Vans Warped Tour in 2017 alongside Alestorm, The Ataris, and other numerous punk bands.
The band released their sophomore album, Welcome to the Neighborhood, amping it up 10-fold. Critics praised them for being one of the few whose second records easily surpassed the quality of their first. The album also featured as Album of the Week on Kerrang! In between, the band embarked on several tours to promote their music before dropping their third and recent studio album, Glue.
Our Top 10 countdown of Boston Manor’s songs cover some of their greatest hits of all time, mostly from their debut and sophomore albums.
#10 – England’s Dreaming
Four decades after an English punk rock band claimed there was no future in England’s dreaming, Boston Manor turned the idea around with their emo-pop song “England’s Dreaming.” The track was released from their second studio album, Welcome to The Neighborhood, on September 14, 2018. The song was written by Henry Coax, who tried to draw attention to a few issues affecting his generation.
#9 – Plasticine Dreams
‘Plasticine Dreams ‘ was released ahead of Boston Manor’s third album, Glue. The track was accompanied by a surreal animated video of a man walking through a trippy funfair in an Interview. Henry Coax revealed that the song-which was released on April 3, 2020- was about the throwaway culture of media; how art is as content making. He also said that the fast pace of viral content encouraged people to focus on making content rather than art.
#8 – Bad Machine
On September 7, 2018, the band released ‘Band Machine’ as the second single from their Welcome to the Neighborhood album through Pure Noise Records. This song saw Boston Manor reviving the old-school grunge-style music. It was also pretty well accepted and has since been on repeat in most clubs that cater to this style of music.
#7 – Everything is Ordinary
‘Everything is Ordinary’ is a ferocious blend of punk, hardcore, and electronic music. The track was a break from the alt-rockers typical sound and opposition from some of their fans. The glitch sound and a difference in Henry Cox’s voice received massive resistance from fans who could not accept the change. Through Pure Noise Records, the song’s video premiered on YouTube, and again the reception was not entirely pleasing. The comment section was littered with fans playing foul over Cox’s vocals which were mistaken for autotune. Although the results were disastrous, the band satisfied their quest to try something new through this 2020 release.
#6 – Brand New Kids
This track was released on May 1, 2020, also from the band’s third album. The music style rages into the pop-punk type the band is famous for. The song starts with soft piano music and settles into an upbeat bop to It. Some fans have voted the song as the best release from their Glue album.
#5 – Liquid
‘Liquid’ was the first release ahead of Boston Manor’s third studio album. On this one, the band joined forces with John Floreani – Trophy’s Eyes vocalist. The track has since become a cult favorite among fans, probably due to its grunge music style that mixes a bit of pop-punk, punk rock, and emo-pop. It was released on June 3, 2019, with fans unsure of whether it was a standalone single or a taste of a new album.
The Blackpool band recorded a version of Twenty One Pilots’ original, ‘Heathens,’ first released on June 16, 2016. The cover was written by Tyler Joseph and was released in 2017 for Boston Manor’s Punk Goes Pop –vol. 7 album. Their version added a pop twist to the original song and became another favorite to their fans.
#3 – Lead Feet
‘Lead Feet’ is a single from Boston Manor’s first album, Be Nothing. The heavy-hitting music was inspired by a true story about a guy Cox went to school with and vanished one day until ten years later when he returned by reaching out to Cox. The guy narrates how the ten years were like and triggered Cox on how lives can begin on the same trajectory but take opposite turns. The song earned band fans from all over the world.
Another single from Boston Manor’s debut album, Be Nothing, Laika is famous for its emotional impact and the pop-punk grunge music style similar to many other songs. The song references the dog sent into space by the USSR but not at all about the dog. Regardless, the song has earned the band a spot as a pop culture favorite.
Top of our list is ‘Halo.’ The song was released on June 11, 2018, as part of their second album, Welcome to the Neighborhood. It focuses on being stuck in a cycle of addiction without a way out. The song’s video depicts the degeneration of Blackpool, which was once a haven and a holiday destination. According to Coax, the town is now stuck in colossal drug problems. Although the song was a success, It was a gamble and was almost scrapped from the album.
From the list above, there is a lot of potential in Boston Manor’s evolving sound. Despite the occasional hostile reception, they remain open to trying out new music styles along the way and notably about taking risks.