Friday, May 16, 2014

Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart - 2013

I guess I was late showing up to the "Frank Turner is cool" party, but Frank Turner is cool.

Frank Turner started as the frontman for a hardcore band, but found that after a while, he just wanted a change of pace, so he put out an album of songs like a troubadour - him and his acoustic guitar talking about life after hardcore. And damned if it hasn't been great stuff.

Some of the earlier albums were a bit shaky, sometimes getting too lost in his balladeering, but "Tape Deck Heart" is Frank's fifth album, and it's lock-solid from start to finish, mostly because it's gotten the balance down between bitter bluesy tracks and more upbeat catchy swinging songs. Frank's also willing to pick up the occasional electric and let it dance among the sounds, but doesn't ever let it overwhelm anything.

In many ways, Frank Turner's filling the space that Dashboard Confessional seems to have left - someone talking about their own life with a brutal bit of clarity, sometimes to their own detriment. Songs like "Good & Gone" include lyrics like "So fuck you Hollywood / For raising us on dreams of happy endings / In postcards of the prom kings and the prom queens / For teaching us that love was free and easy" and you can tell Turner's had a rough go at life from time to time, but he's right, and it's understandable, how frustrating life can be in comparison to the views of Hollywood.

Then you have a song like "Tattoos," where he talks about his love of tattoos and what they say about him: "Some people have one and  / Some have one that they're ashamed of  / Most people think that we're fools / Some people don't get it and / Some people don't care /And some of us we have tattoos..."

For me, though, the song on the album that really brings it all home is "We Shall Not Overcome," the anthem of, well, someone just like me: "We're all awkward understudies wearing comfortable shoes getting comfortable with doing it wrong / Missed the dress rehearsals and we had to rush a drink before the show but now it's show time and we're singing our song! /Because the bands I like, they don't sell too many records / And the girls I like, they don't kiss too many boys / Books I read will never be best sellers, yeah / But come on fellas at least we made our choice..."

The single that caught everyone's attention, though, was "Polaroid Picture" and I'll leave you with that...

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