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Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones (Cover Artwork)

Frank Turner

Frank Turner: England Keep My BonesEngland Keep My Bones (2011)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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It's been nearly two years since Frank Turner unleashed Poetry of the Deed on the world, by far the longest gap he's had between albums. While he's been plenty busy in the interim (touring with Social Distortion; releasing last year's Rock and Roll EP, as well as a collaborative album with Jon Snodg.
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It's been nearly two years since Frank Turner unleashed Poetry of the Deed on the world, by far the longest gap he's had between albums. While he's been plenty busy in the interim (touring with Social Distortion; releasing last year's Rock and Roll EP, as well as a collaborative album with Jon Snodgrass; and appearing on a Bad Religion record, to name some of his more high-profile activities), listening to his latest offering, England Keep My Bones, it feels like he's taken advantage of the extra time between releases and crafted an album that feels calculated in the best possible way.

The first noticeable thing listening to England Keep My Bones is how many more bells and whistles are attached. His songwriting style hasn't changed all that much, but his execution has. The full band behind Turner is utilized more than ever before. The album opens with the sound of strings and a horn section. These instruments, as well as keys (courtesy of Matt Nasir and special guest Franz Nicolay) play a more prominent role in Turner's music than ever before. There's also more evidence of studio wizardry (see the Queen-esque four-part vocal harmony on the Freddie Mercury namecheck in opener "Eulogy").

Listeners who fell in love with the "dude with an acoustic guitar" format of Turner's early work may be taken aback a bit by additional instrumentation at first, but it's the lyrics that make his music so endearing, and he remains one of the best storytellers in music today, up there with the Weakerthans' John K. Samson and the Hold Steady's Craig Finn. With "Peggy Sings the Blues" is a heartfelt tribute to his grandmother, with one of the catchiest choruses you'll likely hear this year. He weaves tales of dreamers stuck in ruts with "I Am Disappeared" and "Redemption" (one of the album's best tracks, and indeed one of the best of Turner's career thus far).

First single "I Still Believe" has been floating around for the better part of a year, but it's a strong enough track to justify inclusion, and it fits quite well with the flow of the album. It's a full-blown love letter to rock and roll from a man who has always worn his influences on his sleeve. Freddie Mercury, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are all namechecked on England Keep My Bones at one point or another.

The real triumph of the record, however, is "Glory Hallelujah". It's an atheistic anthem that's going to piss a lot of people off, but more than that, it's a call to arms to help make the world a better place. The lyrics "I know you're scared of dying man, and I am too. / But just pretending it's not happening isn't going to see us through. / If we accept that there's an endgame and we haven't got much time / Then in the here and now we could try and do things right" are among the most moving Turner's ever written.

England Keep My Bones is another great record from a songwriter who's been remarkably consistent thus far and shows no signs of slowing down. The additional flourishes of instrumentation help the album stand out from his previous releases, but his sharp, biting lyrics remain intact. Like all great singer-songwriter albums, it will make you think, and more importantly–make you feel.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
droote (July 26, 2012)

It was okay, neither good or bad. Glory Hallelujah is a great song.

AmateurChemist (March 12, 2012)

The Frank Turner syndrome is a very apt description of his music for me. I suppose that's hard to avoid when you put out albums as often as he does, and thew good tracks are some of the best out there! Photosynthesis is still my jam

sajamie81 (December 8, 2011)

Probably my favorite album of the year. I love "I Still Believe"

keithybobeefy (June 16, 2011)

Best songwriters in music today: John Darnielle, Craig Finn, Andy Hull, John K. Samson, Frank Turner.

Good record.

laserguidedbygod (June 15, 2011)

Really liked this album, but am going to politely disagree with "Glory Hallelujah" being the best song on it. It's probably the worst song of his career.

ballsy815 (June 14, 2011)

for the most part I really enjoyed the album. I think that the electric guitars were way too heavy though. When they come in on the first track it kind of threw me off. Better than Poetry of the Deed, but I don't think it gets any better than Love Ire & Song.

hoganoutlet (June 12, 2011)

it is very good.Hogan
Vendita Scarpe Hogan
Outlet Hogan

pringlet (June 11, 2011)

Excellent album sans the cappellela.

One Foot Before the Other....sounds a bit like Million Dead...great fucking song. More of this please.

wigzisonfire (June 10, 2011)

Love Frank!! what a dude.

Hey lads help me out, if you get a free minute please vote for my tee design on threadless

Sinngh (June 10, 2011)

Strange, isn't it? One Foot Before The Other totally outshines absolutely every other single song on this LP. Brilliant tune.

Tye (June 10, 2011)

Nobody's mentioned the awesomeness that is "One Foot Before the Other". AWESOME. NESS.

fattony (June 9, 2011)

Pretty disappointed in this. There's a couple of absolutely brilliant songs here, but the rest is totally forgettable filler...which seems to describe all of his albums at this point. One of these days, he's going to put out a killer greatest hits or live album.

kelly_d (June 8, 2011)

Listening to this in my living room for the first time and my dad says "I don't mind this you know".

Frank Turner sold out [sic]

DylanB (June 8, 2011)

â??I Am Disappearedâ?ť is an incredible song, the whole album is great. Gotta love what Frankie is doin'

Name (June 8, 2011)

I agree with haanz...frank is great but not nearly detailed or even skilled enough to warrant a Samson comparison. Maybe once he ditches the incessant optimism and sloganeering. Nevermind, he's not that great

Haanz (June 8, 2011)

Really? You're gonna compare Frank Turner to John K. Samson? Really?

mattramone (June 8, 2011)

I expect this will be like every other Frank Turner album: 4-6 jawdropping songs, 1-3 decent songs, and the rest rounded out by ballad filler that I listen to once and then never again. Stoked to have another couple tracks for the inevitable greatest hits album.

MN_DrNick (June 7, 2011)

This won't ever be my favorite from his (Love Ire & Song gets that honor), but this album is pretty damn good. Thought it was better than Poetry Of The Deed.

sailin_on (June 7, 2011)

Also, 4 stars for being awesome

nedsammy (June 7, 2011)

Every time I read the title I think it says England Keep My Boner... think I need to hit up some Freud about that.

ReducerSF (June 7, 2011)

Awesome record. Not as good as LI&S but definitely MUCH better than POTD.

There's some really steller songs on here, and I agree that Redemption might be one of his best songs ever.

I still can't stand the a capella song, it is terrible, honestly. But the rest of the album is fantastic. 4 out of 5.

MuhammadMormon (June 7, 2011)

This guy.... this guy... sucks.

sailin_on (June 7, 2011)

"There is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO God" Welp, good job Frankie, you can't sell this at Wal-Mart anymore.

thepopeofchili-town (June 7, 2011)

Appeared on a Bad Religion TRIBUTE record. I accidentally a word.

Alien (June 7, 2011)

This is fatastic.

Problematiclogic (June 7, 2011)

Never rated his lyrics at all. Had to stop listening to his last EP after an incredibly cringeworthy line about him sleeping in his pants.

oldpunkerforever (June 7, 2011)

simply brilliant,wow.-oldpunker-

CityRocker (June 7, 2011)

As everyone seems to agree, it's much better than POTD, and a great album but I can't help thinking it's nearly (but not yet) getting too cheesey !

milesqtoast (June 7, 2011)

really? nothing really stood out about it to me.

R3vengeTherapy (June 7, 2011)

Loving the album, it's better than Poetry of the Deed (that album suffered from a really weak second half) but I have no idea why "English Curse" is on the album. A capella is extremely unappealing in just about every case. Getting the bonus tracks now, excited to hear them.

damnitsderek (June 7, 2011)

I'm only halfway through this and it's already superior to Poetry of the Deed. Love Frank Turner, loving this album.

jacknife737 (June 7, 2011)

My clear front runner for album of the year: so freaking good.

The new expanded instrumentation stuff definitely makes for a stronger final product: my only real complaint is that Balthazar Impresario should have been a regular-album track rather than being banished to the realm of "bonus tracks".

jacknife737 (June 7, 2011)

My clear front runner for album of the year: so freaking good.

The new expanded instrumentation stuff definitely makes for a stronger final product: my only real complaint is that Balthazar Impresario should have been a regular-album track rather than being banished to the realm of "bonus tracks".

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