Album six for Frank Turner and it’s business as usual, but does it stack up to his high standards?
Frank ‘Marmite’ Turner splits opinions with his music, personality and political sentiments, but none can dispute his professionalism. Having performed well over 1500 live gigs, he never seems to stop performing and the new album certainly reflects his hard work. Melodious and catchy, many seem happy to write the album off as an easy listener for the masses, however Frank writes with sensational live performances in mind and all of the new albums songs can be easily pictured live.
The album opens with The Angel Islington, a deeply reflective song that comes across almost like a soliloquy as an insight into Turner’s life. The second song Get Better picks you up like the perfect morning coffee on a day off, setting the tone for the album which aims to excite and energise. This theme continues into The Next Storm as it keeps the listener involved with an upbeat tempo favouring the electric guitar and piano over his usual semi acoustic style, almost sounding like a musical theatre number. Track four turns folksy in The Opening Act of Spring as you are given a chance to relax and gather your thoughts, rehashing an affinity for the live performance of this album in which you would imagine the ebb and flow in the set list to get the maximum out of the audience.
On the other hand, Glorious You is perhaps one of the songs that does come across as a bit of a filler, it is well geared for easy sing-alongs but it doesn’t feel like it’s written with as much sincerity and heart as some of the others. Mittens is the mid-point in the album where people would be getting out their lighters as it builds slowly towards its crescendo. It’s a sweet and enjoyable song but again it does feel like it was written out of talent and not heart.
The album finds a different gear with Silent Key as it draws to a close, the final moments of a female astronaut’s life is a strange premise for a song but it certainly sticks with you. The sensitive and sometimes raw touches of reality are part of his success and that is certainly evident here. Closing with a song for his recently passed friend Josh Burdette – the Song for Josh ties off with the same sincere soliloquy-like-song the album began with. Frank presents an album with a clear opener and a reflective end which reiterates to the listener the level of depth and emotion Turner presents as an artist.
Overall it’s no Love Ire & Song but you can’t deny that the album is well crafted and certainly to be enjoyed. Frank will be in his element when performing live and will play the album’s purpose-written new songs where its flaws will be largely unnoticed on stage.
7/10 – Joe, Bath Store
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