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Frank Turner arrived on the music scene in 2007, as an unsigned, bearded, punk-rock singer/songwriter, making himself heard through constant touring. He has come a long way since then, both literally and figuratively (but luckily the beard remains). Having toured across the globe and played at the iconic Wembley Arena in 2012, fans have seen his popularity rise along with his musical talent. With this popularity comes some scepticism. All too often popularity ruins good, intelligent songwriters and their albums all start to sound like the same drivel with little creativity or meaning. So it was with hesitation that I ordered Frank’s fifth album, “Tape Deck Heart”.
Tape Deck Heart features some uplifting songs, such as the latest single “Recovery”, but also some rather thought-provoking ballads and love-songs. It is this mix of themes and genres that Frank Turner fans love so much, and this album is not lacking variety. This cannot be proven any better than in “Four Simple Words”, which begins as a blues ballad but has a punk-eruption half way through, creating a musical explosion which would send any crowd crazy – definitely one to hear/see live!
Although songs such as “Good and Gone” and “Plain Sailing Weather” include the swearing and life-lessons-for-society that are often found in Frank’s political songs, “Tape Deck Heart” seems to lack any particular political message. Perhaps this is a sign that Frank’s music is entering into a more mature era, where teenage angst and political frustration are replaced by romantic melodies and profound messages of travel and self-improvement.
Of course, no Frank Turner album would be complete without a song that you can listen to whilst gazing at a Frank Turner poster, in the knowledge that he is singing every word about you individually. Or is that just me? “The Way I Tend To Be” is a romantic love song with really powerful and honest lyrics: “love is about all the changes you make and not just three small words”.
Tape Deck Heart offers a great mix of blues, punk and rock, with truly inspiring lyrics (which are included in the CD booklet – what a novelty!). This album will make you want to dance, smile and cry. So fear not, Frank Turner fans, “Tape Deck Heart” continues to serve a vital dosage of Love, Ire and Song.