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Sharptone

Boston Manor - Sundiver

Boston Manor - Sundiver

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VINYL

Preorder due for release 6th September

Coming out on September 6th on Sharptone Records, Sundiver is Boston Manor’s fifth album and one that represents a glimmering dawn for the Blackpool five-piece. Grown from a seedbed of optimism and sobriety, the LP celebrates new beginnings, second chances and rebirth. With two members recently stepping into fatherhood, hope is baked into every note.

“Datura came out of these really dark few years over the hangover of the pandemic,” Henry reflects. “I'd been struggling a lot with drinking and not taking care of myself and bad mental health and stuff. We wanted Sundiver to be the next morning of the following day.” He explains that it feels good this time round to write through the lens of positivity.

“The themes began to emerge, of rebirth, spring, dawn, sunshine and then other elements just started to fit into that.” It was during the making of Sundiver that Henry found out he was going to be a dad. This album is a significant one for the band. Originally coming out of the emo and pop punk scene, they’ve explored sonics and genres throughout their career, taken risks and achieved more than they could ever had dreamed of.

They’ve grown up as Boston Manor – their lives and the world changing around them. They’re now taking stock, at a crossroads of the band they were and the band they could be. While writing the album, they revisited the bands that shaped them in the late 90s and early 00s. “I was listening to the music I loved when I was a teenager and I just thought, why don't we make music like our favourite bands?”, guitarist Mike Cuniff remembers with a smile. “So we brought our interests to the table that way. Y2K kind of vibe.

There are elements of Deftones, there are elements of Portishead in there, some Garbage, The Cardigans.” He laughs and adds NSYNC to the list of inspirations. From this cocktail of classics comes a dynamic and ambitious record, rich with depth, groove and more hooks than Peter Pan’s nightmares. Lyrics that foxtrot from parallel universes to personal growth, vivid dreamscapes to raw grief. Individually they’re single strokes full of meaning and magic. Together they’re a landscape. Container (out Feb 15th) is the first single and it’s them at their best – impassioned and infectious. “This song is about the stagnancy of life creeping up on you & how that can bring about change.,” Henry explains, citing Ocean Song by US band Daughters as an inspiration.

The concept of the butterfly effect is present on Sundiver – how small actions can lead to big changes. This is no clearer than on their second single, Sliding Doors (out April 5th). It has the golden sound of late 90s Lollapalooza rock – think Smashing Pumpkins - rebooted with crisp 2024 production and a potent heaviness. In the lyrics Henry wonders, what if?, pondering on what could be. The idea that there are infinite versions of you whose lives splinter off in different directions at every decision you make. That there’s another you out there somewhere right now reading this sentence, and another me writing it. “So much is down to chance and circumstance,” Henry says. “You might catch that train and your life totally changes. Or you might miss it and things stay the way they are.”

Heat Me Up (out May 30 th ) is defiant and victorious, the audio equivalent of quitting your shit job and driving into the hot summer sun with a head full of dreams. “The lyrics are about love and gratitude,” Henry shares. “Another theme on the record is just appreciating what you have. It’s about not taking for granted the things that you've been afforded.” There was some natural magic in the creation of Sundiver. They worked with their usual producer, Larry Hibbitt, and engineer, Alex O’Donovan, but instead of recording in London again they ended up in the green pastures of Welwyn Garden City. “Because Larry lives out in the countryside now, it was a way different environment and way different experience recording this time,” Mike remembers.

“That contributed a lot to the brighter sound of the record.” The daily barbecues they had during their recording sessions imbued the process with harmony – five old friends spending quality time together and making quality music. However, the album is by no means one-note. Birthing this new world they’ve created wasn’t without it’s pain, and that can be heard in the heavier moments on Sundiver. What Is Taken Will Never Be Lost is the most-stripped back on the album, a slow rock number seasoned with the downtempo Portishead influence. The heartfelt lyrics are Henry’s way of processing the loss of his grandfather, who died in a hospice last year(?). “It was just fucking horrible. It was always cold when I went there and they were always trying to get rid of me. The song title, What Was Taken Can Ever Be Lost, is the idea of his memory fading at the time because of dementia.”

Henry goes onto explain that shoeboxes of photographs, diaries and a legacy is what he’s left behind. “He lived a really rich life and it has really impacted me and my father. His legacy is etched into the fabric of history in a very small way.” This song continues the connection between his grandfather and the band, as his painted face is emblazoned on the cover of the very first Boston Manor EP, Driftwood. As well as emotionally heavy themes, there’s heaviness in the music of Sundiver too. The closing song, Oil In My Blood, descends into an intense shoegaze outro with Debbie Gough from Heriot screaming hellfire. It’s in moments like this that the band show us aggression and fury can be as much a part of positive change as quiet introspection. The last lyrics of the song, “It resets and starts again,” leaves us in contemplation as the final chord rings out.

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