Frank Turner - Love, Ire, and Song
X-tra Mile (England)
A year ago, my friend Mike started telling me all about Frank Turner, but I sort of didn't pay attention. I'm not sure why, but holy hell did I miss out. Recently, someone showed me mp3s of this new album, which Mike hadn't told me about. I checked it out on a whim, and was absolutely floored. From the first time I listened, I was blown away. For the last few weeks it's been hard for me to turn this off, and the only reason I do is so that I don't burn myself out on it. I'll try to keep from gushing further, but I make no promises.
Frank Turner is a singer/songwriter from England, which immediately leads to Billy Bragg comparisons. While they've valid, they're not entirely accurate. Turner is a much more layered songwriter, and his guitar parts are interesting, whether solo or with a full band setting. There are more upbeat and energetic songs like "Imperfect Tense" and "Reasons Not to Be an Idiot," as well as slower, more relaxed songs such as "Substitute" and "A Love Worth Keeping." Some songs are mostly Turner, while others contain all sorts of various instrumentation.
What makes this record truly great, however, is the lyrical content. As a 25 year old, constantly struggling with the battle of getting older and "maturing," while still enjoying my youth, Turner seems to have written the soundtrack to my last year. Ideas of moving into adult, while still thinking "I won't sit down, I won't shut up, and most of all I will not grow up" speak to disillusioned mid-twenties everywhere. You know that feeling you get when you realize that you're just another person stuck in the 9-5, and "punk rock didn't live up to what (you'd) hope that it could be"? Yup, Turner knows that too. There's a sense of disillusionment on this record that runs deep, but is coupled with a feeling of youthful optimism that makes you feel like it will all work out.
This album seriously surprised me and came out of nowhere, but it's easily in my top three records of the year and I can't recommend it enough. It was originally released in England, but you can get import versions (CD) on Amazon for reasonable prices. I'm hoping to track down the vinyl in the near future. I have enough CDs that are now "coasters for beer and clean surfaces for drugs," sings Frank.*
*PS. Happy edge day! Mine is sharp as ever.