Turner manages to redeem himself towards the end of Tape Deck Heart with the dark droning of ‘Broken Piano’, which provides an interesting production-heavy alternative to the trusty four-chord formula, if nothing else.
This reviewer’s had myriad reasons to steer clear of Frank Turner. All of those involve various songs/records/gigs of his being ruined by the memory of some terrible person or another. In the interest of adulthood, I am now choosing to black out those blotches on memory in order to recover a love once lost.
‘Recovery’ being the key word, and – incidentally – the opening track, one that couldn’t have come at a more pressing time (for those in the southern hemisphere at least). Shit is turning cold and depressing. Relationships are crumbling. Your housemate is dating your most recent soul-destroying crush and she gives zero fucks etc, etc. Welcome to the hell on earth that is winter.
But don’t get too down, Tape Deck Heart – Turner’s third offering since England Keep My Bones ushered him into the auditory clutter that is mainstream radio in 2011, and record number ten in total – is going to guide you through this difficult time. Anyone with a tape deck heart will appreciate the painfully positive pop gem ‘The Way I Tend To Be’, a throwback to Turner’s (very) early folk strummings, only to be tossed back into their tumultuous teens with angsty folk punk anthem ‘Plain Sailing Weather’.
The middle-bracket is somewhat underwhelming – just your standard selection of acoustic balladry and self-indulgent whinings, interjected with ‘Four Simple Words’, which sounds like a Million Dead song re-worked (badly).
** 1/2 out of five stars
BY JESS SHULMAN
Tape Deck Heart is out now on Xtra Mile.