Saturday, June 11, 2011

England Keep My Bones – Frank Turner

Rating 8/10

In 2005 Frank Turner traded in his hardcore band, Million Dead, for an acoustic guitar and a solo career and has been better for it ever since. Now he has released his fourth studio album in four years and England Keep My Bones stands to prove that Frank Turner has matured significantly as a singer songwriter since his debut release.

Upon diving into the album one thing becomes immediately clear; Frank Turner is still a man who sings with conviction. Lyrically, Turner covers a variety of subjects on this album touching on heritage, religion, identity, music, and love. With the opening track “Eulogy” we find Turner in very familiar territory, merely justifying his own existence, as he belts out “Well I haven't always been a perfect person and I haven't done what mom and dad had dreamed but on the day I die I'll say, at least I fucking tried, that's the only eulogy I need”. Even the seemingly awkward lyrics of the album closer “Glory Hallelujah” “There is no God so clap your hands together” are made addictive by Turner’s sing along song approach that will leave these words and melodies etched into your mind for days.

            England Keep My Bones treads on familiar territories musically, sticking with the core acoustic folk punk sound heard in previous albums. However, there are some songs on this album that seem to pull influence from other places. One song that particularly sticks out is lead single “Peggy Sang the Blues” which could easily be mistaken for a top forties pop song from the late nineties. Another pleasant surprise comes from “English Curse” which features an A cappella Turner singing traditional English folklore “If you steal the land of an Englishman then you will know this curse. Your first born son's warm blood will run upon the English earth”.

            Dynamically, England Keep My Bones stays comfortably in the middle without much variance. There are a couple exceptions such as “One Foot Before the Other”, a track that showcases a heavier side to Turner’s song writing ability, and the enchanting “Nights Become Days” a slower ballad of sorts. However, the lack of musical rollercoaster doesn’t seem to hurt the album but provides it with a more consistent and encompassing sound.

By taking a bit more time to write and record, it seems as though Turner has been able to really flourish in his own element, constructing an album where each track holds its own. The release of England Keep My Bones finds Turner moving on from just a cult following to a much more influential role in British music.

Album Highlights: Peggy Sang the Blues, English Curse, One Foot Before the Other, Nights Become Days

Album Low Points:

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