Frank Turner


Written by: PP on 16/03/2022 22:04:05

"FTHC" stands for Frank Turner Hardcore and is aptly chosen to highlight the drastic stylistic change that awaits unsuspecting fans on his ninth album overall. If you've first joined the Frank Turner boat on 2011's "England Keep My Bones" or thereafter, you'll mostly associate his material with contemporary rock featuring a slight hint of singer-songwriter for good measure. Save for 2013's excellent "Tape Deck Heart", those albums have been decent to borderline mediocre each.

But that's not how the story started. On his first two albums "Sleep is For The Week" and "Love Ire & Song", he charmed the punk rock community via an aggressive form of troubadourism and acoustic guitar shredding that redefined how singer-songwriter as a genre could sound like. Artists like The Homeless Gospel Choir and Jeff Rosenstock are among those who've taken inspiration from these records for their respective styles, yet Turner's origins lie even further back in a British post-hardcore band called Million Dead.

And here's where "FTHC" comes into the picture. It is essentially the sum of his early career as seen through the lens of his modern output. The full band is still there: songs like "A Wave Across The Bay" and "Miranda" - a touching song about coming into terms with accepting your father is now a transgender woman called Miranda dancing along to your songs - are easily comparable to soundscapes since "England Keep My Bones". But these are in a minority on an album that's harder, heavier, angrier, and more aggressively lined than anything he's written since his debut album or the Million Dead days.

Take opener "Non Serviam", for instance. It's a breakneck speed piece with crackling guitar distortion and screamed vocals that are sure to scare off any recent joiners to the Frank Turner fan club, and easily qualifies as the heaviest cut he's written to date under his own moniker. Or what about "Fatherless"? A fast-paced punk rock banger featuring his charismatic delivery and signature-style on-point lyricism, yes, this is exactly what we have been wanting from Turner ever since "Poetry Of The Deed" pretty much.

Similarly, "My Bad" is effectively a hardcore punk song. It sounds weird writing that down in a Frank Turner context, but that's how far back Frank Turner is reaching in his songwriting repertoire here. Kudos for that, because without the coarse, halfway scratchy vocals, songs like "Perfect Score" or "Punches" wouldn't be near as fun and infectiously catchy as they are in their current form.

And if you're more into "Poetry..."-era material, well, "The Resurrectionists" and "Haven't Been Doing So Well" cover you here with their anthemic, fast-paced delivery, where especially the latter charms with his harmonica-infused solo that's contrasted by piano backing.

Best of all, "FTHC" doesn't sound dated or like a rehashed version of old nostalgia. Instead, it features echoes of older days filtered through the modern Frank Turner band, resulting in his most rejuvenating album since "Tape Deck Heart" and possibly even beyond that. The sense of urgency brings about a far greater degree of honesty in the songs than anything on "Positive Songs For Negative People" did, for example. Here's to hoping Turner will remain on this path because it'll make his releases far more relevant and should energize his live shows back to what they used to be back in the day.


Download: Haven't Been Doing So Well, Fatherless, My Bad, The Gathering, The Resurrectionists, Punches
For the fans of: Andrew Jackson Jihad, Ducking Punches, Stöj Snak, imadethismistake, The Hold Steady
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.02.2022
Xtra Mile Recordings / Polydor

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