Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed
Record Label: Epitaph (USA/Europe); Xtra Mile Recordings (UK)
Release Date: July 9, 2008
Growing up I always heard adults say that hard work pays off, and then the older ones often would add something about not letting yourself be a work-a-holic because you miss out on the fun in life. I wonder if Frank Turner ever heard either of these things growing up. I ask this because Turner seems to be one of the hardest working artists today. The man has released three full-length albums in three years while touring relentlessly. Where does one find time to write quality new albums that fast? Does touring and recording so often mean he is missing the fun and will burn out soon?
These are the thoughts and questions going through my head as I get ready to listen to Poetry of the Deed, the third full length from Turner on Epitaph records (also on Xtra Mile recordings for UK). One of the first things I notice about this album is that it has a lot of energy. The opening track “Live Fast Die Old” is earnest, energetic and strangely makes me think of Piebald (All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time era). This sets the tone of the entire album with music coming across much like that of a live show, which makes sense considering this is the first album with Turner’s full live band. I find it ironic that the band itself shines through so strong because the cover art gives off the vibe of a man-and-his-guitar type album. Piano is a big part of the album coming through strong on many of the tracks such, as “Our Lady of the Campfire”.
The attitude of a former hardcore front man is still here, even with the music giving way to his folk rock, and even a more pop sensibility found on “Richard Divine.” Turner’s lyrics are as honest and straight forward as ever. One of the strongest tracks is “Try This at Home” where fast paced rhythm is accompanied by the same speed delivery of honest lyrics poking fun at all musicians, himself included. I really want to put all the lyrics for the song on here, but instead here is a small taste; “And there’s no such thing as rock stars / there’s just people who play music / and some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks / So quick, turn off your stereo, pick up that pen and paper / you could do much better than some half-arsed skinny English country singer”. Turner is known to be political, and “Sons of Liberty” addresses his fellow Englishmen to stand up for freedoms. Reminiscing is a common theme for Turner and it is not forgotten here on tracks like “The Road” where he talks of places been and things done in his career. Listening to the title track makes me feel as though I understand why Frank Turner works so hard, and it also makes me want to throw away every dreamt idea written down and start living them out. The slower tracks touch deep and this is especially true with “Faithful Son,” which comes across as a letter to his parents explaining his life with lines like: “I wasn’t joking when I said that I plan to keep doing this until the day I’m dead.” Surprisingly, this, as well as closing track “Journey of the Magi” sound a lot like Rise Against's acoustic stuff, which really means for me that Rise Against, when acoustic, sound like Frank Turner.
Overall this album is the same Frank Turner of Love Ire and Song and Sleep is for the Week with a larger feel thanks to recording full band. I personally find that this is his best work yet and it excites me of what is to come. I still do not know how he puts his product out there so often, but after listening to the title track I feel I understand somewhat why he does it, and I hope he never stops. In a music world full of mediocre troubadours Frank Turner shows with Poetry of the Deed that he stands out with talent above many of his peers.
This is an album meant to be listened to on the road. I listen to it just about every time i get into my car. You can tell that Turner loves the transient lifestyle of an always touring musician after listening to this album. And he makes what he does sound like a fucking good time.