Frank Turner
Sleep Is For The Week


3.0
good

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
February 11th, 2007 | 50 replies | 17,023 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Million Dead frontman goes solo with an acoustic rock project. Verdict: just enough entertainment to perform.

Once upon a time, Frank Turner was the lead singer for a rather wonderful British punk band called Million Dead. And lo, he was a star in his field - his endearingly spastic vocals and free-association lyrics about Stevie Wonder's eyes, Walt Disney's socialism, and Alan Turing ensuring that his band could, on their day, make even the hardened At The Drive-In fan wonder what all the fuss was about. Million Dead were, in all honesty, the match and even the better of El Paso's finest for at least one album, the debut sleeper hit A Song To Ruin.

Now, the members have followed their noses into post-Million Dead projects. Luckily, we've been spared the prog-rock-gone-punk musing of another Mars Volta. Instead, we've ended up with the Sonic Youth-esque The Quiet Kill, and Frank Turner's solo album. A ....folk record?!

The idea excited me, if I'm being honest. An acoustic bed for Turner's frantic, vaguely insane lyrics, all still performed with a punk energy, sounded like a recipe for a great album to me.

The execution, on the other hand, is a little different. Rather than folk per se, the album is instead more a straight-forward acoustic rock record; more Days of The New than, say, Comus (though it sounds little like either - imagine an acoustic Billy Bragg for a better direct comparison). The new idiom has caused Turner to scale back his lyrical ambition. No more socio-politics and angry rants against Willy Wonka, I'm afraid. The lyrics here - and to be honest, they're inarguably the defining feature of this album - are straight-talking and basic, without sacrificing wit. As a comparison, here's the opening 'lines' from A Song To Ruin's first track, "Pornography For Cowards":

Quote:
Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats, put on your thinking caps. Now here's a poser for you: you know sexism, the social scourge of the sixties seen as singularly responsible for a plethora of ills? Well the reaction, after starting well, has moved from the sublime to the ridiculous through self-defensive actions of the string-vested interests. So please let's dispense with tired fixations with forms of address, and with constant vilification of legitimate sexual attraction, with weak accusations of inverted discrimination, because it's getting old. Come on girls, this is weak. Come on boys, gird up your loins. And yes, I'm no qualified social theorist, but I've got me a few ideas I picked up while I was trying to be a human being. I'm amazed - no seriously, folks, I'm really fucking awestruck.
...and here's the opening from "Real Damage", the first song here...

Quote:
I woke up on a sofa in an unfamiliar house, surrounded by sleeping folks I didn't know.
On failing to find my friends, I decided it was clearly time to go.
So I made my way out of the door as quietly as I could - there was no one there I knew to say goodbye,
Squinting in the sadly sobering sunshine of the Sunday morning light.

I started the night with all my friends and I ended up alone.
I started out so happy now I'm hungover and down.
It was about then that I realized I was half-way through the best years of my life....
Somewhat different, I'm sure you'll agree. So while Turner's lyrics are still good, they seem to have lost their character a little. Perhaps it's the new musical slant, which has pushed his lyrics to the forefront, which has made them seem a little less interesting. Or maybe he's undergone some self-editing because he feels they'll be much more scrutinized now. Hell, maybe one of the other members of Million Dead was constantly goading him to write weird shit, and he doesn't have that influence now. Who knows.

While that's exactly what you'll notice first here, that's not the problem with this album. The problem - and it pains me to say this - is that it's not exactly hard to find something of the same quality of most of these songs with a random browse through MySpace. That's perhaps not as bad a slur as it seems. I contend that there's a lot of good stuff on MySpace if you're prepared to look for it and you're tolerant enough of the crap you'll stumble upon on the way not to stop. Even so, MySpace has made music as a whole a much more saturated, competitive marketplace, and all but one of these songs would probably have been lost to time were it not for Turner's history.

I say all but one deliberately, because one song here is a genuine stunner. "Once We Were Anarchists" is a brilliant song, no matter what way you cut it. A genuine, honest, funny picture of a punk growing up, the lyrics ring so true to me personally it's untrue, and I know I'm not the only one who'll feel that way. The chorus is as anthemic as they come in the genre -

Quote:
Because I'm young enough to be all pissed off
But I'm old enough to be jaded
I'm at the age where I want things to change
But with age my hopes have faded
I'm young and bored of being young and bored
If I was old I could say I'd seen it all before
In short
I'm tired of giving a shit.
Further lyrics about apathy, Turner's own political career being fucked, and England still being shit ensure that this may yet prove to be one of the very finest songs of 2007. And in truth, there's probably going to be a few people that hear it and end up over-rating this album slightly. Certainly, if it's released as a single, it'll almost definitely be a hit amongst the MTV2 crowd on this side of the Atlantic.

Sleep Is For The Week may have one jewel in its crown, but the rest forms an album that is solidly above average, if slightly workmanlike. It's certainly enjoyable, which is more than can be said for a lot of the albums you could immediately compare it to. I'm confident that anyone who does stumble upon this record will find a lot to like about it, but whether or not they'll bother with a second listen is another matter.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Abaddon2005
February 12th 2007



684 Comments



Million Dead were cool, I didn't know Turner actually played any instruments except for doing vocals. Great review with a very nice length.

clairvoyant
February 12th 2007



765 Comments


Nice review

Neoteric
February 12th 2007



3243 Comments


Million Dead were awesome, I have no interest in this though to be honest.

Fantastic, entertaining review from you again.

MrKite
February 15th 2007



5020 Comments


He does a version of You're My Sunshine and it's not as horrible as I expected.

lanchege
April 29th 2007



64 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's pretty good.

duckies
October 1st 2007



143 Comments


Great review: "Verdict: just enough entertainment to perform." Nice!

I've yet to check out Million Dead so I'll see how that goes first.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2010



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

album is so good, 'my kingdom for a horse' fucking kicks into such a higher gear in the second half that it makes me giddy

EVedder27
July 1st 2010



6088 Comments


oh yes this rules

SeaAnemone
July 1st 2010



19721 Comments


Frank Turner sang for Million Dead wtf?! how did I not know that, that's so random?!

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Skimaskcheck
July 27th 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hahah Eric, how'd you miss that!

Ballad of Me and My Friends is so fun

EVedder27
September 4th 2010



6088 Comments


reviewing this soon

Captain North
September 26th 2010



6779 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is really really growing on me, I may even like it more than Love, Ire and Song.

vanderb0b
October 23rd 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is awesome. Not as good as Love Ire & Song, but still a very solid 4-4.5

Captain North
October 23rd 2010



6779 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

But it has Once We Were Anarchists, Wisdom Teeth, Decent Cup of Tea and Fathers Day!

vanderb0b
October 23rd 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I gave it another listen, and the two are really close. Still prefer LI&S by just a bit, though.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2010



17197 Comments


The Real Damage is the best song about Ketamine abuse that I've ever heard.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2010



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i could be so much better than i am

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2010



17197 Comments


story of my fucking life

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2010



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah that line kills me

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2010



17197 Comments


that whole song kills me.



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