Album Review: Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart (2013 LP)


"And when the hipsters move on/I still won't give a fuck"

Frank Turner has never looked to be cool, or for mass appeal and acceptance, he just likes to play his little folk tunes to drunks in small bars across the world. His new album Tape Deck Heart sees the troubadour expand his horizon with the permanent inclusion of his band The Sleeping Souls, which add more flavours to his little folk songs. He broods over a sustain keyboard chord on 'Broken Piano', cranks up the amps in bluesy rock number 'Time Machine' and gets his country on in 'Cowboy Chords'. But the beauty of this record is still Turner's story telling lyrics, perfectly describing the scene and the moment in time he is capturing in song.

There is also a romanticism that Frank has in the simplest things in life. In 'Undeveloped Film' he reminisces of a past love in the photos of a roll of film he remembers to finally develop. In 'Oh Brother' he looks back fondly at starting a band with his best friend as kids with shitty instruments and no idea. In 'Four Simple Words' he encourages us to say four little words - I want to dance. Even if he himself admits he can't dance, but just get up and do it anyway as its the perfect cure for the blues. 'We Shall Not Overcome' is an ode to all his friends who make no money playing in bands no one listens to or artists who know one knows and how happy they are to just be creating. It's a key to Turner's songs, for every sad song about heartache or home sickness, he has a boppy upbeat song to lift the mood again.

Frank has always used the road as a central theme to his songs. Whether its the highs and lows of the road, the loves he has left behind for the road and the people he meets along his travels. This is more evident on 'The Way I Tend To Be'. His other common theme is companionship and relationship. The albums opener 'Recovery' is about discovering himself with the aid of a lover and the reflection on his life as he does in 'Losing Days'.

Tape Deck Heart is by far Turner's most extensive collection of songs. 18 tracks and clocking in over an hour. Its some of his finest work to date. The progression in his abilities are clear and while he doesn't seek mass popularity, that may change with this record.

Rating 8/10