Saturday, April 27, 2013

Album Review: Tape Deck Heart

Title:  Tape Deck Heart (Amazon, iTunes, Interpunk, Wikipedia)

Frank Turner’s fifth full-length album, Tape Deck Heart, is a far more personal record than its predecessor England Keep My BonesAccording to Turner “There’s a lot of stuff on this record about loss and failure in relationships, about what happens when something that was supposed to be timeless runs out of time.”  This idea is perfectly expressed in the lyrics of the album’s opening track and lead single “Recovery” –
And I've been waking in the morning just like every other day
And just like every boring blues song I get swallowed by the pain
And so I fumble for your figure in the darkness just to make it go away.
But you're not lying there any longer and I know that that's my fault
So I've been pounding on the floor and I've been crawling up the walls
And I've been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters,
Cider and some kind of smelling salts.

It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light.
A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right.
Turner also sings an ode to the punk rock ethic that he still believes in, in “Four Simple Words” (which is also awesome for making a Rocky Horror reference in the lyrics). 

From top to bottom Tape Deck Heart is classic and quintessential Frank Turner.  I’m a huge fan of Turner’s music and have been looking forward to this album for months, but it wasn’t until last night that the record really clicked for me.  England Keep My Bones (and Love, Ire & Song) is an epic record that grabs you from the opening notes and refuses to let go.  In fact I would save that England Keep My Bones has the best set of opening tracks of any record that I’ve ever heard with “Eulogy,” “Peggy Sang the Blues,” and “I Still Believe.”  Those songs are grand, larger-than-life anthems.  Tape Deck Heart’s open tracks are more understated, making the record more of a slow burn than a striking explosion.  This isn’t to say that Tape Deck Heart isn’t as good as England Keep My Bones, because it is, but its vibe is completely different.  What grabbed me last night was one of the bonus tracks, “We Shall Not Overcome.”  The lyrics spoke so clearly and straight to my heart that I couldn’t help but to feel like it was my theme song.   
The bands I like, they don't sell too many records
And the girls I like, they don't kiss too many boys
Books I read will never be best sellers, yeah
But come on fellas at least we made our choice, hey!


Ever feel like an awkward understudy thrown into a cast where you just don't get along?
Crowd and the crew all standing silent staring and you can't shake the feeling that somehow you're doing it wrong

Here’s the bottom line, Frank Turner is a genius and Tape Deck Heart firmly reaffirms that he is one of the best artists in rock ‘n’ roll today.  For those who have never heard Turner’s music, this is as good a place to start as any.  The songs are catchy and heartfelt performed with an earnest urgency that brings them to life in a way that few ever do.  The music is a brilliant mix of power pop, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll, played with the soul of early punk.  In other words, it’s fucking brilliant.        

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