Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Frank Turner

Poetry of the Deed (2009)


Poetry of the Deed is Frank Turner's third solo album in three years and his first for Epitaph, not counting their re-release of 2008's fantastic Love, Ire and Song. In that time span he has also released several split and solo EPs, in addition to touring Europe with the Gaslight Anthem and a stint on last year's Revival Tour alongside Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Ben Nichols and others. To say he has been keeping busy would be quite an understatement.

The album opens with the very Springsteen-esque "Live Fast, Die Old." The lyrics are a mission statement of sorts. "I'm gonna live fast and I'm gonna die old. I'm gonna end my days in a house with high windows." It is apparent from the choruses that all the time on the road has improved his vocal range quite a bit. The track is one of the album's strongest and sets the pace for what is to follow.

Second track "Try This at Home" is a critique of the "rock star" attitude. As usual, Turner tackles his subject with humor and wit; "There's no such thing as rock stars, there's just people who play music. Some of them are just like us and some of them are dicks." The track also asserts that music should be not about fashion, but the music itself. As the title suggests he also encourages the listen to create some music of their own.

Just as on past albums, Poetry of the Deed is filled to the brim with pop hooks, but never feels overtly commercial or radio-friendly. First single "The Road" is a superb example of this. Its "To the east, to the east..." chorus will remain with you for days, but it's hard to imagine it fitting in on mainstream radio in between the latest Lady Gaga and Nickelback tunes. The song's lyrics about not wanting to remain in one place and fully experience what life has to offer should be relatable to just about anyone. Other highlights include the reflective title track, the somber "Sunday Nights" and epic closer "Journey of the Magi."

As a whole, the album doesn't reach the heights of its near-perfect predecessor. However, Poetry of the Deed is a very good singer/songwriter offering, and Turner's vocals here are the best we've heard from him yet. If he can find a way to bring his songwriting A-Game together with his newfound vocal prowess, his next offering may very well be a masterpiece.