Review : Frank Turner - Love Ire and Song
AbsolutepunkThere's always been a link between punk and folk. It all started from a common ideal: punk originated principally as an anti-establishment movement, concerned with youthful rebellion and idealistic attempts to change the world for the better; folk had Bob Dylan (and others like him). This sums it all up pretty well, and while this thematic link may have been diluted over the years by the explosion of pop-punk bands and the commercialisation of folk music, it has still been a common stylistic shift for punk singers looking to broaden their horizons. Mike Ness, Chuck Ragan and Dustin Kensrue have all proved it is possible, but undoubtedly one of the finest examples that can be found is Love Ire & Song, the second solo album by ex Million Dead vocalist Frank Turner.
Lyrically the album is practically flawless. Turner seems to have the ability to make almost any sentence both poetic and accessible. "Reasons Not To Be An Idiot" is an excellent example: "He's not as clever as he likes to think. He's just ambitious with his arguing. He's crap at dancing and he can't hold his drink. Deep down he's just like everybody." Many people can write a beautiful poetic line, although sometimes they are seen as guilty pleasures, too pretentious and soft to be talked about over a pint when you're chatting about music. What makes Turner's lyrics so incredible is that you can imagine absolutely anyone having no problem reciting them: they are fundamentally relatable. This is something you would say, if only you had the ability to express it in such an artistic way. Examples of this flow fast and thick throughout the album: the closing to "I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous" is exactly the way I want to live my life, "Substitute" is the most sincere yet least sappy love song I've ever heard, "Long Live The Queen" is a poignant tribute to life lost and the final few stanzas of "Love Ire & Song" are simply sublime....full text
RoomthirteenIt’s just over a year since Frank Turner’s debut album ‘Sleep Is For The Week’ hit record stores. Ahead of its release, Frank gave Room Thirteen a track-by-track guide to the album, and now, with number two less than a month away, he’s done the honours again.
‘Love, Ire and Song’ was recorded in the latter part of 2007, with sessions happening either side of the US tour. Frank returned to the valley where he grew up, and recorded the album in a converted barn.
When we spoke to him during the recording process he told us: “I don't think
I need to progress so far after one solo album; I'm just aiming for better songs and a better sound. Two different themes run through this album, distance and optimism. I've been far away from my loved ones, touring more than ever, but I'm also more confident in my worldview. And angry; definitely more angry.”
So…now that the record is finished, the first single has been released to radio, the video is done and the tour is booked, what are we getting from ‘Love, Ire and Song’?
Frank Turner’s thoughts are below:
After I finish writing an album, I often feel like a maniac at the end of a killing spree - I can see all this carnage around me, and it was obviously me who did it, but I can't for the life of me remember how. So this batch of songs, my second record, is much like the others - I can remember these songs not being written, and now they are, but the details of how I got from one stage to another are a little hazy. Nevertheless, let's have a go.
Most of these songs started coming together on the road - no surprise really, seeing as I've been on tour pretty much non-stop since finishing the last album. They were then tweaked on days off, in strange bedrooms and occasionally in practice rooms or at soundchecks with my band (a refreshing experience) and turned into songs. Songs such as:
1. ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’
The title is a reference to a poem by T S Eliot. This song is a statement of intent, kind of my version of ‘Thunder Road’ - but rather than being an invitation to escape it's a statement of defiance. I guess it's an anthem to being overlooked, and reveling in the fact that we were never looking for that kind of approval in the first place. It names a lot of my friends personally. It's a perfect album (and set) opener, and runs the gamut instrumentally, from solo to uber-orchestrated supernova....full text
SputnikmusicFrank Turner clearly has absolutely no idea how the world works and that's alright because neither do you or I. We're all messes of men trying to work out the next step and we're all prone to totally fucking up once or twice every day. It's fitting, then, that Love, Ire & Song should be such a dizzying experience on a first listen, and remains that way until forever and ever; every single line Turner shouts at you makes absolute sense to both your head and your heart, but in the end you're left none the wiser by his assertions that we should all refuse to learn from our mistakes and insist on the impossible, because the whole point is that there's no handbook or summary manifesto for being alive. Although Love, Ire & Song frequently comes pretty close.
All those hazy realisations you had about rebellion then quickly forgot; Turner collects them all in his fist and throws them at your face. He asserts on the title-track of this album that 'punk rock didn't live up to what [he] hoped that it could be,' and in many ways the five songs before it and the six after it expand on that buried sentiment. They're bold, honest and assertive statements on how not to give up on anything ever - even self-deprecating ballad 'Substitute' ends on a redeeming note - and they're little lessons on how to deal with the big issues that a hell of a lot of people have in their mind; how to grow up and not lose momentum, how to love, and how to smile as frequently as possible. Turner is less big on observations of the physical world and more interested in the consequences of our actions and the reasons behind them.
And really, this review of Love, Ire & Song could just comprise the lyric sheets for all twelve songs, and I could maybe just leave that to pique your interest. And it would. But the magic of this record is that there is genuine beauty in hearing Turner deliver the lines in his everyman certainty for the very first time and every time after that. Most tracks stray not too far from an acoustic guitar and a voice, but the variations are astounding; folksy rock rhythms abound, there are hints of a gaelic influence in a couple of tracks, and that piano in 'Jet Lag' which hammers as the man starts to break... wow. You'll find a plugged-in, full band number under the title 'Imperfect Tense' and a rollicking folk anthem in 'To Take You Home.' And to top it all off Turner's handling of a melody is sublime; these are gentle choruses and largely unassuming hooks, but damn it, they're catchy as hell....full text
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