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.