wed 28/02/2024

CD: Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart

CD: Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart

Former punk rocker gets personal - but still finds time to dance

More love and loss than love and ire: Frank Turner's 'Tape Deck Heart'

Frank Turner has been setting his life to music ever since he re-emerged as a heart-on-the-sleeve singer-songwriter type some time in 2005, and so it’s hard to avoid the temptation to play therapist when considering his most personal collection of songs to date. Tape Deck Heart, his fifth album since then, is more love and loss than love and ire.

It’s been billed as a breakup album so it’s not surprising that loss of the romantic kind features right from the opening track. On first listen, “Recovery” comes across as upbeat indie-rock-by-numbers but its jaunty chorus and effervescent wordplay hide a desperate song about heartbreak, coping mechanisms and - yes - recovery. It’s a trick he pulls a few times, on songs that document the loss of friendships (“Polaroid Picture”) and the loss of youth (“Losing Days”).

Yet those are easy listening compared to some of the rest of the album, which contains some of the rawest songs Turner has ever written. On “Plain Sailing Weather”, with its clever pop culture references, the pain is in the delivery - a quiver in the voice, a nihilistic curse in the chorus. On “Tell Tale Signs” it’s everywhere; poetic lyrics telling of scars both literal and metaphorical.

So it’s with a quirk of scheduling genius that the only song on the album which can properly be described as light-hearted follows, with a piano flourish and a touch of cabaret. “Four Simple Words” has already become a firm favourite at shows, and the point that the song transforms into a full-on rocker with a “hi ho hi ho we’re off to the punk rock show” is no less raucous on record. Turner also reprises his 21st century folksinger role but with a twist, meshing Arthurian legend and youthful alienation on “Fisher King Blues”.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Recovery"

Its jaunty chorus and effervescent wordplay hide a desperate song about heartbreak


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters