Across the Atlantic, English folk/punk troubadour Frank Turner engaged in a chart battle with none other than the crooner Michael BublÃ©. Ultimately, Turner took the second slot, but it says a lot about Tape Deck Heart and the sort of driven fans that rally behind this charismatic fellow.
While his last album, 2011â€™s England Keep My Bones, was a consciously nationalistic record, Turner has gone personal for his latest effort. Heartbreak, self-loathing, and various forms of abuse appear throughout the lyrics, but Turner doesnâ€™t just relish in the darkness. Throughout his music, thereâ€™s a sensation of mounting hope, and that is what sets him apart from the typical punk crowd.
â€œRecoveryâ€ could relish in the chemical haze of trying to cope with devastation, but even in the midst of the pained lyrics, there are bits like this: â€œBecause I know you are a cynic, but I think that I can convince you/Yeah cos broken people can get better if they really want to.â€ This is contrasted with â€œPlain Sailing Weather,â€ which is a bad dayâ€™s perfect anthem with its refrain of â€œGive me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can fuck up anything, anything.â€ Whether in darkness or in hope, Turner is brutally honest and cuts down to the bone with his lyrics.
â€œTell Tale Signsâ€ chronicles the shame of broken love and self-inflicted scars and coming to terms with oneâ€™s flawed self. The stripped-back arrangement brings out the lyrics here, as is the case with â€œBroken Piano,â€ wherein Turner reverts back to his proudly English image. Here he is â€œa sinner amongst saved men on the banks of the muddy Thames,â€ playing sad songs outside an ex-loverâ€™s window. There may be a couple of songs that strike me as frivolous on Tape Deck Heart, but thatâ€™s just because when Turnerâ€™s at his sharpest, few can hold a torch to his combination of frenzied energy and inevitable optimism.