Album Review: Frank Turner’s Undefeated delivers everything you want and more (2024 LP)

Solo album number 10 for Frank Turner opens with “Do One” and it just might be my personal anthem by the end of all this.  It’s a siren’s call to anyone who has been on the receiving end of someone else’s bullshit, with lyrics that resonate on an intimate level, cleverly wrapped in one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in a long time.

“Never Mind The Back Problems” is a full-on punk drinking song delight.  With a tempo that will part your hair, it’s hard to accept the notion that Turner doesn’t regard himself as young these days.

Next up is “Ceasefire”, and there’s a delicious rising melody that I wanted to listen to over and over again.  A reflective piece in the form of a note to 15-year-old Frank Turner from the 2024 version, it’s a quest to find common ground with the past version of yourself.  This track is a definite favourite.

We roll into “The Girl From The Record Shop”, another high-energy, ludicrously catchy offering, which pulls from 50s, 60s, and punk, and leads perfectly into “Pandemic PTSD”. If anyone was ever going to be able to articulate the bewilderment of the past few years it was going to be Turner.  There’s something reassuring about hearing all the themes of agoraphobia, inactivity, confusion, loss, and tentative re-emergence laid bare in song form.

“Letters” is up next with a cracking bass line perfectly twinned with a sharp as hell drum track.  I confess I had to listen twice because I was so consumed by the rhythm section on this one initially, and it’s a belting ode to a communication breakdown, based on a lost pen-friendship from Turner’s youth.

We’re brought down a level by “East Finchley”, pulled into a reminiscence about a past love and the direction their lives have subsequently taken.  The respite is short-lived, however, as we’re then catapulted into “No Thank You For The Music”, full of angst and rage and a general fuck-you to creator haters who want to stand in their way by telling them that their work isn’t good enough.  “Leaders”, resplendent with harmonica solo, is one of the happiest songs about rebellion I’ve ever heard.  Short, sharp, and to the point.

The splendidly titled “International Hide And Seek Champions” follows, and this feels like quintessential FT.  Pop-punk, positive, and nothing short of feel-good glory.  Following on is the slightly more mellow “Show People”, an homage to performers and the challenges involved in undertaking that path.

Here we reach the most beautiful track on the album, love song “On My Way”. It’s predominantly Turner with restrained, delicate vocals, accompanied by acoustic guitar.

As we near the end of the album, Turner drops “Somewhere Inbetween”.  This one feels like a sleeping gem, detailing the struggle with identity and fitting in.  The song creeps into a crescendo, bursting with emotion, particularly relevant to anyone who has ever suffered from imposter syndrome.

Title track “Undefeated” rounds out the track list.  There’s a moment to catch your breath before it slowly builds to a rousing conclusion about overcoming obstacles, and you’re left with the sense you’ve been on a journey, from love to defiance through anger to survival.

If you’ve been lucky enough to experience one of his live shows you’ll know how utterly cathartic and joyous it is to sing and scream along at the top of your lungs.  Track after track you’re transported into that live space, impossible to sit still, impossible to be a spectator.  There’s singing and yelling along to be done here.

I genuinely love this album.  It’s everything you’d want from an FT release and then some. Just as I thought I’d found my new favourite tune there was another one waiting to impress.  It would also be remiss to not mention The Sleeping Souls, as good a live band as you’ll ever see, so ably supporting throughout, as ever.  This is an energetic, clever roller-coaster, and if this is the sort of material pouring forth for a tenth album then roll on album eleven and onward.

Frank Turner.  Undefeated, indeed.


‘Undefeated’ is scheduled for release on 3 May.  Grab your copy HERE.