Frank Turner

Tape Deck Heart

Written by: PP on 10/06/2013 22:22:15

Ever since Frank Turner added a full band to supplement his trubadour-like acoustic singer-songwriter style on "Poetry Of The Deed" in 2009, a heated debate has refused to calm down between the supporters of his minimalistic, aggro-punk version of the style, and those that prefer the completeness and contemporary rock vibe of the additional instrumentation. I was a skeptic too for a long while, but recent live performances and especially his fifth studio album "Tape Deck Heart" have made it pretty darn difficult to be one.

In short, it is his best album to date with some of his best and most varied songs to date, ranging from quiet acoustic ballads to high tempo, almost screamed delivery in cuts like "Four Simple Words". It's the first album where the backing band integrates fully with Frank's charming lyrical universe, and the first one where his acoustic platform feels a natural perfect fit with the electric guitar, the bass, and the piano melodies embedded within. "The Way I Tend To Be", for instance, is one of the best ballads I recall hearing in recent years, and it owns a chorus that's nothing short of infectiously catchy. The aforementioned "Four Simple Words" starts out slow and explodes into a quintessentially early Frank Turner style acoustic punk rock masterpiece, where his lyricism is as smart and full of social commentary as ever:

"Somebody told me that music with guitars was going out of fashion, and I had to laugh. This shit wasn't fashionable back when I fell in love, so if the hipsters move on why should I give a fuck?"

Elsewhere, "Recovery" ups the tempo while adding in more quirky lyricism, whereas the organ melodies in "Polaroid Picture" recall The Hold Steady's wonderful mixture of folk and alternative rock. Across all songs, we have Frank's great, charismatic voice completing a convincing expression and an album that simply sounds big and well-produced, given the major label backing it has had. It's uptempo when it needs to sound bright and driving, somber and introspective when it needs to calm things down for a moment of thoughtful acoustic singer-songwriter. Now I'm not gonna lie, the best moments are clearly when Frank is at his loudest and fastest, because that's when he's at his most original. The quieter songs, while still attesting to Frank's fantastic, throaty vocals owning to his punk rock heritage, aren't as distinguishable from his peers. Still with all things considered, this is the most complete album Frank Turner has written to date, and the pinnacle of his career as a musician without a doubt.


Download: Recovery, Plain Sailing Weather, The Way I Tend To Be, Four Simple Words
For the fans of: The Hold Steady, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Beans On Toast, The Gaslight Anthem, Tim Barry, Larry & His Flask
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.04.2013
Xtra Mile Recordings / Interscope

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