Review Summary: I probably didn't write this song for you
Frank Turner isn’t exactly someone I would want to mess with. Known for this vocal outbursts and edgy lyricism with post-hardcore outfit Million Dead, Turner is never holding back his punk tendencies; whether he is staging some sort of a political protest or launching an assault on his personal issues. He’s a ***-up by trait, armed with only an acoustic guitar and an empty wallet to address his self-loathing predispositions. Turner feels no obligation to be subtle about his tribulations; he’s going to bellow at you just how warped he believes this world is and how it has tormented him. It really says a lot for a man that has watched his aspirations and ideals disintegrate by the prospect of time and reality, which doesn’t cease to be the central premise of his music.
“The truth is, I don’t like people all that much”
claims Frank Turner in the ninth track of his debut Sleep is for the Weak
, essentially describing the record to a tee. There is something irrevocably potent about his delivery of these one-liners; each containing a blatant and simplistic message, but ultimately capturing the very sentiment that was intended. Turner is one of those musicians that isn’t going to overwhelm the listener with ostentatious musicianship and oblique lyricism, instead coming at you with an acoustic guitar and little else to hinder the motives of his words. In this respect, Sleep is for the Weak
is a truly affecting collection of tracks from the self-repugnance of “The Real Damage” to the incessantly fun “The Ballad of Me and My Friends.” The record doesn’t waver much from your typical acoustic folk formula, but is far from one-dimensional in terms of the concepts and music that it boasts. The haunting “Worse Things Happen at Sea” is characteristically the record’s most intriguing track; a slow burning lament of a failed relationship that is heightened by the rare presence of strings and Turner’s poignant vocals. The tandem of the aforementioned piece and “Fathers’ Day” are an interesting blend in that there seems to be a paradoxical battle between them; “Fathers’ Day” being in a rare find in Turner’s discography in that it seems to put blame on both parties, while “Worse Things Happen at Sea” is Turner pointing his finger in the opposite direction.
Sleep for the Weak
is a sure-fire representation of a punk rocker that is far from abandoning his roots; still furious that he has been unable to discover the victorious formula is this game of life, whether his career or love life has been affected. Whatever this superficial blueprint is that Frank Turner has not stumbled upon, he has acquired the prescription for manufacturing heartwarming and effective music outside of the constraints of Million Dead, ultimately establishing him as one of the more relevant solo artists of the day. After all, Turner isn’t the only one in this universe that has been searching for answers, and it could be that “We’re definitely going to hell, but we’ll have all the best stories to tell.”