Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed

2009-09-07 | |

Every generation has a folk hero; a troubadour with a guitar and a message. Johnny Cash springs to mind immediately; so too do the bluesmen like Muddy Waters. For a moment, I would possibly consider Frank Turner. His numerous acts, from Kneejerk, through Million Dead, to his current solo incarnation, have always brought me some form of cheer, and always been on top of their game.

Poetry of the Deed is the third instalment from the musical freight-train that is Frank Turner. I'd always expected another folk-punk album, witty, scathing even. What I got was an album that I sensed would end up being a 'grower', but, on first listen wasn't having any real effect on me. Usually, I'd get a wry smile out of some song, but, it's all oomph and no pizzazz.

The title-track is far from inspiring, coming across as middle of the road pop-folk-punk rock. It's almost as if, on finding out that Radio 1 love him, he's changed his tune, and stepped things up a key or two, to be 'radio friendly' and branch out to the kids. I'm not calling him a sell-out, it just lacks the passion that the other albums (and EPs) have been packed with. It's music for the sake of music.

There are some instances where I can feel that a song is going to become a hit with me (The Fastest Way Back Home, Sunday Nights), but, these are outweighed by the songs drowned in electric guitar. These glimmers almost show that Frank is still there, and maybe it's just the production that's bad; maybe it's just the choice of songs, and the single B-sides might be better.

On a plus, though it starts like a lame horse out of the gates, it really picks up speed and gallops to victory at the end. It feels more like a Frank Turner production once the initial fences are jumped. Once the horror that is The Road was out of the way, the album opened up and became a real work of art. But, that's not the way albums should be - they should grab you at the start, when it matters, and hold onto you. And for that reason, I think a lot of older fans might be initially disappointed with the quality (unless they're unconditionally in love with him).

Overall: 6/10 - I was harsh with Datarock, and in the spirit of equality, I have to be equally as harsh with this. It's just not what it should be, but it does have moments of pure genius.

Top Track: Our Lady of the Campfires

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