Living up to the expectations and commercial success of 2011’s critically claimed England Keep My Bones (selling over 100,000 copies to date) was to be no easy task for English folk/punk singer Frank Turner, but after listening to his forthcoming LP Tape Deck Heart, it appears he has done/will do just that. Everything is musically packaged a little better on this album—having stellar production quality and melodic appeal—Tape Deck Heart is definitely a more “commercial” release: one that may induce initial fits from older fans.
The album opens with its lead single “Recovery” decorated in catchy hooks and unleashing a powerful, upbeat chorus—definitely headed for some serious airplay. This more radio friendly approach is also taken in “The Way I Tend To Be” but with an acoustic composition and a soaring vocal anthem; as it becomes apparent that Turner has made leaps and bounds vocally—fine tuned and sounding better than ever—he has really honed in on his range.
There is far more to this release than catchy hits: the faster, lyrically blunt “Plain Sailing Weather” is sure to be a fan favorite across the board—backed by emotional leads—Turner sings his pain with a touching, matter-of-fact acceptance. The album diversifies in sound on tracks like “Polaroid Picture” and “Four Simple Words” the former taking a very dark tone in contrast to others—the latter being a full out punk infused piano-jam with a ripping solo and some grooving bass chords. “Losing Days” and “Oh Brother” were tracks that just didn’t really stick—quite boring sonically—but the remainder of Tape Deck Heart is superb on a track by track basis: fun, catchy, heartfelt and laced with emotional depth. You can pre-order your copy on iTunes today, and be sure to check out the video for “Recovery” below.
Review by Matt Crane – HHM