Frank Turner | Tape Deck Heart (Xtra Mile/Interscope)

tape-deck-heart-frank-turnerTurner has consistently provided very heartfelt, genuine lyrics, and continues that same path here.


Yeah, I’m an FTHC fan. His blend of folkish punk and rock struck a chord in me a few years ago, and has stuck. With the success of his last album, England Keep My Bones (see my review), I was a little worried what direction his new release would take, and feared that he would go a more dumbed-down, pop-ish route. Thankfully, the album is fantastic. Unlike England, which was very much a love letter to his home country, Tape Deck Heart is an emotionally raw breakup album. There really is no better way to put it.

Turner has consistently provided very heartfelt, genuine lyrics through is previous four albums, blending them with Billy Bragg–like folk-punk melodies. He really continues that same path here, and the listener is greatly rewarded. Many of the songs here are the most emotional vulnerable and introspective of his career. Previously, he has sung about being reserved a bit about love and not letting someone into his heart so deep. The pain in his lyrics on this release stem from the recent end of relationship, and you can literally feel his pain and regret in them, particularly on songs such as “Anymore” and “The Way I Tend To Be.”

Stylistically, this is closest to his 2008 release Love Ire & Song, with a good blend of folkier tracks and several more up-tempo pieces. This doesn’t mean that every song is sad or serious, however. Opener “Recovery” is a fun, rocking track about trying to recover from his breakup. “Four Simple Words” is a blast of fun that helps shake up the tone a bit, and with a great chorus: “I want to dance/ I want to dance/ I want lust and love and a smattering of romance.”

Turner only touches on England on the album closer, “Broken Piano,” but it’s really more as placement for his broken heart and lost love. All of his albums have provided a very strong finish, and “Broken Piano” is no exception. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the U.K. iTunes Deluxe version, as there are several strong bonus tracks that really could have made any of his albums, especially “Undeveloped Film.” Wow—such a great, sad song.

The production is crisp and clear on this release and works well here. Some of the arraignments have a lot going on and a muddy production, would have greatly diminished things. I really hope this latest release just further expands on Turner’s growing success, as people need to hear him. Kids of this generation now have their go-to album for breakups. A- | Mike Koehler

Standout tracks: “Recovery,” “The Way I Tend To Be,” “Good & Gone,” “Four Simple Words,” “Broken Piano”

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