Overall Score: 9/10 Punkiness: 7/10 Songwriting: 9/10 Lyrics: 9/10 Pros: Upbeat, punky and well written Cons: The main experiment doesn't quite hit the target dead centre, might be a bit too "heavy" for casual fans
Frank Turner has been known for many years now as a folk rock singer, adding The Sleeping Souls as his backing band in more recent years. A prolific songwriter, he has churned out high quality albums and now he bounces back into the world’s eardrums with FTHC. With this release, it seems Turner wants to remind people that before he was the folk rock guy, he was in a punk band (Million Dead). The opening salvo of Non Serviam (Latin for “I will not serve”) and The Gathering burst from the speakers and kick you square in the gut with their energy, passion and, in the case of the opening track, a possible hint of anger.
Haven’t Been Doing So Well is much more the Turner you expect; all upbeat tempo, feel and chords, despite the lyrical theme. Untainted Love is definitely going to be a live staple in his upcoming tour, as this is yet another Frank Turner song you can’t wait to know the words to so you can sing along.
Why this man isn’t headling the O2 Arena is a mystery, he might be a genius.
Fatherless tricks you with a slow piano riff, before the guitars make the whole room bounce. My Bad is as punk as they come. That’s all that can be said. It’s as though the last two years the world has gone through has made Turner angry. Even though he might not be shouting at the establishment, the rage he felt when writing the riffs and thinking about vocal melodies just stuck. Then when our man felt he actually had something to say or he wanted to sing about he fit the lyrics around that. Indeed one of the album’s themes is about his relationship with his father, bringing us neatly to Miranda, which is surely a successful single in waiting and again, is more akin to the folky Turner that turned many fans onto him in the first place.
It would be bad form to just write track by track and not leave listeners something to discover themselves, but The Resurrectionists sees Turner in storyteller mode, as he utilises a sort of talking-singing vocal style in the verses, which works well and is a welcome variant with it’s slight humour.
The Work is about relationships and how you get out what you put in. Little Life is a slower tempo song which calms the listener down a little from the bounciness of the rest of the album. Album closer Farewell To My City, kicks in with a rhythm section jam and Turner talking over it. It’s easy to imagine this happening at a gig as an extended intro, especially as the guitar kicks in and Turner mentions his old stomping grounds, but on the record it just doesn’t seem to quite hit the mark. It goes on too long and doesn’t seem to come to anything as it drops down to just an acoustic guitar as he starts to sing about his fondness for London, before ending rather suddenly. It’s great Turner has done something different and it’s not terrible. It just didn’t quite feel like it belonged on a studio album and certainly should have been a longer song.
All that being said, if that’s the only criticism you can raise against a 14 track album, it’s not really an issue is it? Especially when that album has just given you your first number one album.
FTHC is available now via Xtra Mile Recordings / Polydor.
For more information on Frank Turner, like his official page on Facebook.