Words by Ryan Kappy
After leaving his hardcore roots in the UK post-hardcore band Million Dead, folk songwriter Frank Turner has graced the world with five impeccable albums and rigorous touring schedules over recent years. That hasn’t stopped the aging punk from slowing down. His new record, Positive Songs For Negative People, could be his best effort yet, due to the simplistic approach of each song, filled with intricate messages.
In terms of straightforward punk songwriting, “Get Better,” “ The Next Storm” and “Glorious You” contain the essence of the evolving sound of Turner’s band, The Sleeping Souls. Some of his earlier material is reminiscent in “The Opening Act of Spring” and “Love Forty Down,” keeping to his acoustic folk formula while adding some elements of Celtic roots.
The name of the record helps bring positive ideas for people with negative mindsets. “Mittens,” explains that you may think love can work — but in the end, it slowly slips through your fingers. “Silent Key” is a eulogy of Christa McAuliffe, one of the seven astronauts who died on Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. The final track, “Song For Josh,” is a somber tribute to the head security guard at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C., who committed suicide two years ago (the song was recorded live at one of Turner’s shows at the club).
Positive Songs For Negative People is one more step Turner has taken in keeping his punk roots alive. As he cries out, “Goddamn, it’s good to be alive,” in “Demons,” I couldn’t agree more. Turner has many more years in him.
‘Positive Songs For Negative People’
Xtra Mile/Polydor (UK)/Interscope Records
© August 7th, 2015
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