English rocker Frank Turner is what happens when the tattooed rebel cousin of the Kooks trades thrashing guitars and whisky-drenched snarling for delicate fingerpicking and whisky-drenched crooning. But after listening to his newest album Tape Deck Heart, one canʼt help but feel nostalgic for the punk bark and hostile sound on which he made his name.
His softer side works best on intros, bridges and outros. On the rowdy pub anthem “Four Simple Words,” the folk opening is the perfect contrast for the kick-in-the-gut instrumentation which follows. However, on the tunes that remain gentle throughout, he never seems to be in his comfort zone. His voice is at its most natural when he’s screaming into the mic or experimenting with unknown sounds on tracks like “Broken Piano,” the most memorable track on the album. Nonetheless, his lyrics pack a punch throughout all 12 songs. On the intimate “Good and Gone,” he gives a hearty “fuck you” to Motley Crue and Hollywood like the disillusioned son of the 21st century.
Turner tells us in “Anymore,” “not with a bang, but with a whimper.” And although Tape Deck Heart has its moments, one wishes there was just a bit more bang in it.
– Dylan Brown