Frank Turner, formerly the lead vocalist of hardcore band Million Dead, surprised many when he declared that he was moving into the realms of folk music. Indeed I must admit a certain level of suspicion, having been a keen Million Dead fan myself. For those of you that don't know, Million Dead were a hardcore band that produced awesome tunes with a bitter, perceptive lyrical bite.
It is clear that Frank hasn't lost his desire to ingrain his songs with a sharp insight and whilst the songs don't have that initial vitriol characterised by the hardcore genre, the lyrics retain their sense of defiance, and are bathed in the warm glow of his more melodic folk setting. It's still angry, but in a much more subtle way.
So many people get excited about so-called intelligent lyrics by other artists/bands, but Turner really does set himself apart in terms of his message and coherance:
"And it seems a little bit rich to me,
The way the rich only ever talk of charity
In times like the seventies, the broken down economy
Meant even the upper tier was needing some help.
But as soon as things look brighter,
Yeah the grin gets wider and the grip gets tighter,
And for every teenage tracksuit mugger
There's a guy in a suit who wouldn't lift a finger for anybody else" (From Thatcher ****ed the kids)
"And yes I'm in four-four time, and yes I use cheap cheap rhymes,
But I try to make a sound my own.
I know I don't break new ground, many have travelled this sound,
But I try to make it sound like home." (Nashville Tennessee)
For a MD fan, it took some getting used to, but its well worth it. Thatcher ****ed the Kids being my favourite, it evokes strong memories of his "Deadz" past, and shows so much promise of a bright future. Turner demonstrates that folk music is about more than fat blokes in tweed sweaters (no offence meant there).
Expect more from your music. Buy this CD.
"A simple scale on an old guitar, and a punk rock sense of honesty" as Frank would put it.