Frank Turner
Love, Ire & Song


3.5
great

Review

by Richard Craig USER (120 Reviews)
May 17th, 2008 | 42 replies | 21,097 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

In the past year Frank Turner has been a very, very busy man. He has played hundred of shows around his native United Kingdom, travelling over 40,000 miles in the process. While on the road he has also found time to write a whole new album – ‘Love, Ire & Song’ However, though all this travelling and hard work must have been exhausting at times, ultimately it has paid off. See, when he first started his acoustic-folk project back in 2005 he was still “that guy who used to be in Million Dead” to many. But now, he has built a reputation as a great solo artist in his own right, and this is down to his excellent debut ‘Sleep Is For The Week’ and quickly, and deservedly, becoming a favourite on the live circuit. ‘Love, Ire & Song’ looks set to make him even more of a national treasure.

It is named so not only because it is the title of one of the strongest tracks on the album, but they are also the three things that Frank believes one needs to live. These three things are also fundamental elements to the album. ‘Love, Ire & Song’ (the song), as mentioned earlier is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It is also quite representative of the album as a whole. Starting out gently it gradually gets angrier before leading into an uplifting chorus. It is clear from this track that Frank’s style has changed as it is more minimal with less instrumentation; yet his song writing skills, in terms of guitar playing and lyrics, makes up for this as they have both greatly improved. However, album opener ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’ is even more representative of the album. It is also equally as strong as the title track. It works in a similar way to ‘Love, Ire & Song’ as it too builds up gently and gradually to a more passionate conclusion. Lyrically it talks of Frank’s current life and touchingly of his friends. The lyrics are, as with all of the songs here, are the focal point. In this case though, they are so strong and representative of the album that the lines “Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings/About fire in our bellies and furtive little feelings” are printed on the inside of the album. Throughout the album there is plenty of singing about love, and you simply can’t deny that Frank sings with a fire in his belly and an undeniable passion for what he is dong.

While, Frank’s song writing skills have improved as the lyrics are now more poetic and interesting than before, it is disappointing to note that there are very few sing-a-longs on the album. One of these is the youthful and innocent single ‘Photosynthesis’ which could very easily have fitted into ‘Sleep Is For The Week’ style-wise. That’s not to say that it doesn’t fit in here, because in offering a bit of variation with its more traditional structuring, it does fit in nicely. Apart from that though, instantly memorable and catchy songs are few and far between. An exception however, is made on the beautiful ‘Long Live The Queen’ which celebrates the life of a recently passed friend. It is one of the most full songs on the album with less subtle, but just as good, if not better, instrumentation. It is very upbeat, especially considering the tragic story behind the song.

It is of course a great thing to be able to safely say that there isn’t a bad song on the album; however, there are also a lot of mediocre songs. It is hard to see songs such as ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot’ and ‘Jet Lag’ become live favourites. The former is unique as it more obviously and openly optimistic than the majority of Frank’s songs, yet apart from that, there is really nothing special about it. It is on songs like this that the lack of riffs and clever little motifs from instruments such as violin or a harmonicas, that made his debut more interesting, stand out as a weakness. Sure there is a harmonica in this song, but it is too subtle and ineffective to add anything positive to the song. The album closer ‘Jet Lag’ is a disappointment, especially when pitted against the classic ‘Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ that closed ‘Sleep Is For The Week’. It is ill-fitting the album as it is much more pessimistic than the rest of the album, and seems out of place as a result. Though it does create sympathy for Frank, it drags towards the end of its five-minute duration and has little for Frank’s prospective audiences to hang onto and look forward to, come the end of the set.

It is clear from ‘Love, Ire & Song’ that Frank Turner has changed musically. I am reluctant to say that he has grown musically, because in all honest – he hasn’t. This isn’t a bad thing as the songs are still interesting, but all too often they are over-simplified with less interesting instrumentation. The lyrics however, have got even better and are more optimistic than ever. This makes the album an interesting listen and is definitely one to put you in a good mood. It is not though, one that will be good for mass drunken sing-a-longs at his upcoming gigs and festival appearances. Nevertheless, Frank Turner has made a strong album here, one that will only further his positive reputation as one of England’s best songwriters.



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user ratings (537)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • NightTrain1 (4)
    How can you not sing along to this?...

    vanderb0b (5)
    A record by the average man for the average man, Love Ire & Song is one of the pinnacles o...

    Adam Thomas STAFF (5)
    We're definitely going to hell but we'll have all the best stories to tell...

    Adam Knott EMERITUS (4.5)
    That the only thing that's left to do is live....

  • Mike Allen (5)
    You'll live to dance another day/it's just now you'll have to dance, for the two of us/so ...

    Brokenjewel (4.5)
    Exuberant, playful and as deeply personal as ever: England’s folk/punk hero nails that ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
April 6th 2008



14517 Comments


great review

brandtweathers
April 6th 2008



2007 Comments


interesting and well written review. never heard of the guy so this was new and insightful. good job bucko

jrowa001
April 6th 2008



8750 Comments


good review. i have Sleep Is For the Weak and its pretty good. ill have to give this a listen

spoon_of_grimbo
May 8th 2008



2240 Comments


solid review! i just bought this the other day (as much as i like those cardboard slipcase foldy-outy fancy cases, i've already managed to damage the fucker!), and i'm really liking it, possibly more than SIFTW. first three tracks, the title track, and long live the queen are my favourites so far, and i agree with you on jet lag, it does seems a little out of place. i'm unsure of a rating yet, but it'll be somewhere around 3.5-4 i reckon.

spoon_of_grimbo
May 8th 2008



2240 Comments


oh, and st. christopher is coming home! that's a tune!


btw, does anyone have Frank Turner's first demo? I can't seem to find it anywhere, either physical or on blogs...This Message Edited On 05.08.08

pogostick1
October 11th 2008



42 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review, i would agree with almost everything, apart from Reasons Not to Be an Idiot, i love that track, and i reckon that it translates well live too.

I fully agree though that the album is very hit and miss, for me i cant listen to it without skipping Imperfect Tense and Better Half

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2008



17197 Comments


really? i love those songs.

OneDeadCop112
December 16th 2008



57 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think Jet Lag is a great song. Great album closer.

dukes
January 29th 2009



133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Brian Fallon of the gaslight anthem recomended this guy on one of his blogs, i got it and fell in love imidiatly i wish i knew about him sooner.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2009



17197 Comments


one of the greatest albums I have ever heard.

PanasonicYouth
July 22nd 2009



7411 Comments


rating needs to be hired.
damn.
only a 3.8?

PanasonicYouth
August 7th 2009



7411 Comments


strongly thinking about bumping this to a 5

Kiran
Emeritus
September 9th 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really enjoyed this on first listen. long live the queen is brilliant.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Kiran
Emeritus
September 10th 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bump for greatness.

i'm not really digging better half or a love worth keeping but all the other songs are gems! can't believe i've never even heard of this guy before. i'll probably end up looking into million dead before the week is up.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2009



17197 Comments


: )

cirq
September 15th 2009



9263 Comments


just got this

Kiran
Emeritus
October 19th 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

saw him last night!

he was awesome live

Kiran
Emeritus
October 25th 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the classic ‘Ballad Of Me And My Friends’

just noticed that line and have to add that the song is one of the most amazing experiences i have ever had at a live show. every single person knew the words and sang as loud as they could.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2009



17197 Comments


And we're definitely going to hell but we'll have all the best stories to tell.


PanasonicYouth
January 8th 2010



7411 Comments


bumped to a 5 because it fucking deserves it



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