- Arts & Literature
- Science & Technology
By Alex Kealy
“Every love that made me lose my reasoning / every cause that made my conscience ache…well none of them come close / to singing back the song in my head / I always had a song inside my head.” These words of Frank Turner’s seem to address the three themes that made up his breakthrough second solo album Love, Ire & Song.
Yet, these come instead from ‘Living The Dream’ on former band Million Dead’s record Harmony, No Harmony. Turner’s newfound presence as a Radio 1 darling has wrongfully put his past post-hardcore-punk achievements in the shade. Whilst his solo work is indeed outstanding, he would be extremely fortunate ever to release an album that betters this.
The music is almost uniformly outstanding. Harsh, gnarly bass riffs judder along, interspersed with whiny staccato guitar flourishes, probably best evinced on ‘Achilles Lung’. And the album is not constrained to its post-hardcore label; woozy folk, blistering pop-punk and epic rock are all present. However, the record’s brilliance is achieved through Turner’s mastery of the boozy, defiant sing-along for which he is now famed. The choruses of “I’m only working here / ‘cos I need the fucking money” (‘To Whom It May Concern”) and “Do as we say, not as we do / don’t ask” (‘Father My Father’), act as glorious, youthful defiance – albeit compromised by circumstance. Turner goes beyond traditional, preachy left-wing spouting and recognises the human flaws in himself and us all, the gap between principles and action (“If every penny that I have spent / on processed bread / was spent on growing my own food / my skin wouldn’t look so grey” on opener ‘Bread and Circuses’). Complex and confused are his lyrics, which is just so much more rewarding than the oversimplification of his peers.