Third Three Years
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The third instalment of Frank Turner's self-compiled collection of material that does not feature on his studio albums over the last 3 years. The Third Three Years features previously unreleased demos, radio sessions, b-sides, cover versions, duets, live tracks and one-off side projects, plus artwork by Frank including personal touches such as photos and pictures since The Second Three Years. The past three years have seen Frank raise from the underground to becoming a household name - selling out Wembley Arena, playing at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games and headlining an UK arena tour. This is a unique document of one of Britain's rare talents. The Third Three Years is announced immediately off the back of Frank's latest UK sell-out headline tour. Throughout the summer he headlined UK Festivals such OnBlackheath, Kendall Calling, YNot, Standon Calling, Wakestock as well as performing on the Main Stage at Sonisphere supporting Iron Maiden (Frank's specialist subject on Celebrity Mastermind in January 2014, which he won). Earlier in 2014 he completed his first headline Arena Tour - playing at Manchester MEN and London's O2 Arena. Selling over 42,000 tickets across the whole tour.
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The album is (broadly, but with a bit of license) split into three sections: new songs by Frank (i.e. ones that aren't on another album), covers, and then unreleased or live versions of songs from his studio albums. Perhaps fittingly, my three highlights come one from each of those categories.
Hits and Mrs was probably simply too happy to fit with the narrative of Tape Deck Heart, and so ended up as the B Side on Losing Days, and then here. It's a love song, and a happy one, with a bit of Noah and the Whale about it (or some shared influences), and there's something about it that makes me smile, both at the topic, and at how Frank has, as always, got it spot on. Nice pun, too, of course.
Fields of June is a duet with Emily Barker (which just about fits into the covers section), and it's brilliant for the lovely, folky way the song is put together, as well as the cutting and heart-rending story, accompanied by superb and heart-rending vocals.
And my favourite of the alternative versions is the acoustic Plain Sailing Weather. It's epic, raw and anthemic in the rockier album version, and here, stripped back, its emotion hit me anew. (The beautiful piano version of Tell Tale Signs is a very, very close second.)
There are other worthy mentions due to Riot Song, American Girl, There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner and Sweet Albion Blues, which has grown on me in the end. And everything from track 15 onwards is golden: piano and acoustic versions, with the album finished with a rattling, rock version of Dan's Song.
Ah, it's great.
This is three more years of an artist who clearly loves what he does and does what he loves.
If you like Frank, you know what he does and you know what to expect. This is no exception. Buy this album, you will not regret it.