Thursday, December 16, 2010

FRANK TURNER: ROCK & ROLL



Xtra Mile Recordings


Described by Turner as a "taster for the new album," Rock & Roll's more of an appetiser than anything else. An offering to appease the fans 'til the new album's out (and the non-stop touring starts all over again).

Track one "I Still Believe" is a perfect single. It's got everything: heart, soul and a massive sing along chorus. But it's the honesty of the message that's most affecting. It's an upbeat, knee-slapping, folk-punk tribute to the "redemptive power" of rock 'n roll.

"Pass It Along" slows things down with an almost minstrel, medieval-sounding guitar run. "Rock & Roll Romance" is a downtrodden, sombre, acoustic-guitar-only ditty. Then "To Absent Friends" hits your right in the chest. It reminds me of The Loved Ones, with a definite piano-laced nod to The Boss. To me, that's when Turner sounds best.

Written after a bender in New Orleans with Jon Snodgrass, "The Next Round" is a depressing, slow-building acoustic ode to drinking. A confession, with Turner singing lines like "I'm not yet quite 30 but I feel like I'm dying," "pills don't kill the pain" and "I tried to live like Hemingway." Still, despite the song's dark nature - which seems part Snodgrass part Turner - somehow, that optimistic Turner twinkle still shines through. It's the strongest slow song on the EP.

In the end, Rock & Roll's just over 17 minutes of music. "I Still Believe" is a feel good stomper and "To Absent friends" is my new favourite Frank Turner song. The rest are a bit more forgettable. Not bad, just fillers...

www.frank-turner.com

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