Frank Turner

Positive Songs For Negative People

Written by: PP on 16/11/2015 22:59:50

Frank Turner writing Frank Turner songs is how you could summarize his sixth album "Positive Songs For Negative People". Offering very little new in terms of artistic expression, the record basically channels "England Keep My Bones" influence but largely without the great songs that elevated "Tape Deck Heart" into one of the best Frank Turner albums yet two years ago. Instead, "Positive Songs..." features a more mainstream version of Turner, where the punk edge of previous work is slowly being evolved away in favour of a more folksy rock approach that is more acceptable to music fans without a punk/rock background.

Previously, one of the key strengths of Frank Turner vs other singer-songwriters was his ability to integrate his past as a hardcore vocalist into a genre that's plagued by boring dime-a-dozen indie singers with no character in their voice. Turner excelled through his charismatic shouts that nearly stretched into screams and added raw edge and character to his expression, especially when combined with earnest, down-to-earth lyricism about rock and roll not being dead and other catchphrases that have lived on from the albums way beyond their release year. Here, already the opener suggests a weaker album. The melancholic, all-acoustic "The Angel Islington" is a strange way to open an album, but at least "Get Better" and "The Next Storm" deliver signature Frank Turner with upbeat folk rock delivered with an energetic tempo. Still, this is a part of the problem: this time around Turner's songs sound somewhat tired, probably because they are essentially referencing his older, better material and don't stand well in comparison. "Out Of Breath", for example, sounds like a salon on fire with its panicked piano melodies supporting the folk punk expression, which on paper sounds like a great Frank Turner song but in practice is a rather forgettable affair.

That being said, none of the songs are exactly mediocre. "Demons", for instance, is a happy-go-lucky piece of fast paced acoustic folk punk with a heartwarmingly catchy chorus. "Josephine" is stadium-sized in its production, yet delivers catchy and frank lines that stick to your mind from first listen. Likewise, lead single "The Next Storm" is pretty good. However, we're used to expecting more than just 'pretty good' from Frank Turner albums. By the time we reach "Song For Josh", we've heard twelve songs that more or less measure up against the material on "England Keep My Bones", but lack the flair and infectiously catchy melodies of "Tape Deck Heart" or the innovative angry acoustic punk of "Sleep Is For The Week" and "Love Ire & Song". That lands "Positive Songs..." somewhere in the middle of his six-album discography - a decent record but one that feels regrettably forgettable.

Download: Get Better, Josephine, Demons, The Next Storm
For the fans of: Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Beans On Toast, The Gaslight Anthem, Tim Barry
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.08.2015
Xtra Mile Recordings

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