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Frank Turner - Be More Kind (Album Review)

Monday, 14 May 2018 Written by Liam Turner

Frank Turner’s sound has changed little over the course of his 13 year career as a solo artist. The edges have been smoothed somewhat, while the instrumentation has grown more varied (and, when it needs to be, lavish), but his feelgood folk-punk USP has remained the same.

Turner’s trademark joviality is still very much present on ‘Be More Kind’ and, as usual, it comes neatly packaged with a mix of self-help sentiments, relationship laments and political polemics.

Ordinarily, a record cut from such familiar cloth would sag and suffer from apparent inertia, but Turner has drawn heavily from the changing sociopolitical landscape (both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have happened since his most recent release, ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’) to make this new batch of songs pop with a passion absent from some recent efforts.

On 1933, Turner laments the rise of populism and neo-fascism, declaring: “If I was of the greatest generation I'd be pissed / Surveying the world that I built slipping back into this.” Its power chord-heavy chorus and Turner’s throaty bark help drive home his bubbling disgruntlement.

The US gets the full force of Turner’s criticism on Make America Great Again, where he bemoans the current political landscape above a pneumatic rhythm section and a melodious four-chord backbone. But, rather than simply diagnosing America’s problems, Turner suggests ways to fix them, singing: “Let’s make racists ashamed again / Let's make compassion in fashion again.” It’s a fresh take on the topic - even if the song itself needs a key change to keep hold of wandering ears.

‘Be More Kind’ sounds similar to much of Turner’s oeuvre, though it is probably his most heavily-produced record, with a noticeable layer gloss permeating every track. Largely, this extra polish is perfectly innocuous, neither enhancing nor diminishing the overall experience; yet it does push a couple of already sweet tracks (Little Changes, Don’t Worry) into dangerously saccharine territory.

But a little sweetness is to be expected on a Frank Turner record, and in a way that’s what makes him and his music so endearing. Like a warm, hearty Sunday roast, his music will have you feeling full and content, ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.

Frank Turner Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon May 14 2018 - LONDON Roundhouse
Tue January 22 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Fri January 25 2019 - MANCHESTER Victoria Warehouse
Sun January 27 2019 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Tue January 29 2019 - GLASGOW O2 Academy
Fri February 01 2019 - BOURNEMOUTH Windsor Hall
Sat February 02 2019 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Sun February 03 2019 - LONDON Alexandra Palace

Click here to compare & buy Frank Turner Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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