Album Review - Sleep is for the week - Frank Turner


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The Hurt Within
03-02-2007, 09:27 AM
Release Date: January 15 2007
Label: Xtra Mile Recordings
Genres: (acoustic-ish) Rock, Country, Bluegrass
Number of Tracks: 13
‘Sleep is for the week’ is the debut Solo Lp from ex-Kneejerk, and more favourably ex-underground punks Million Dead’s frontman Frank Turner. Grab your mood; it’s in for a bumpy ride.

Sound: This time around the energetic Frank, ex-Million Dead bellower, has traded the electric for an acoustic, grabbed a stool and has iterated why he was the genius behind MD. Although his sound has dramatically altered from screaming vocals to a country-esque raw vocal style, fans of MD will still appreciate the songs on offer, as well as gaining a plethora of new fans too.
His English routes are somewhat apparent though, and those outside of the little Isle will listen perplexed at the odd line; with lines aimed at ex-Prime Ministers and kids on the streets - that said, anyone can connect with his personal, yet honest musings on modern society; sung from a mouth on the receiving end of all the decadent cracks society has to offer.

The album opens with the uplifting and raw ‘The Real Damage’ a song dedicated to ‘The morning after the night before” when you wake up, somewhere unknown. Yet by the end of the song, the uplifting mood is replaced by a sense of melancholy without even a change of chords, just tone of voice. The second track ‘Vital Signs’ continues in a similar vein, except now we are treated to a small string and percussion accompaniment too. The song as a whole extenuates life in general – telling us to enjoy the finer joys in life. Track three; ‘Romantic Fatigue’ stutters along with a simple bass and drum backing, while the tone plummets to its most depressing on the album with ‘A decent Cup of Tea”; a simple guitar job; where Frank’s quiet vocals really drag you down to the levels he must have felt when writing the song.
However the original upbeat feel is predictably and temporarily recaptured with ‘Fathers Day’ but as the title suggest his sombre voice juxtaposes the happy-feet tone with that of a very apathetic take on a certain Fathers Day in his childhood. ‘Worse Things Happen at Sea’ really packs a punch both lyrically and musically, both of which are out of style, and more intricate than what we’ve come to expect; this song, my favourite on the album, builds to a beautiful crescendo with a simple string section backing. Track 7 is one of the more average numbers on the album. But when ‘Back in the Day’ kicks in you’ll soon regain enthusiasm, by far the most upbeat track, it really picks up tempo, and any flailing crowd. ‘Once We Were Anarchists’ is defiantly the most political song on the album; flowing beautifully alongside his singing voice, as does the maudlin ‘Wisdom Teeth’. ‘The Ladies Of London Town’ comes across as the anthem of the album with a full backing band. MD fans will really identify with the guitar work, and will cross finger in the hope to hear a slight rasp in Franks voice, that sadly never comes.

Lyrics: As he does musically. Lyrically, Frank Turner pushes the boundaries. His early years were spent during the “Thatcher Years” a somewhat depressing time in recent English history, and his distinctly political upbringing is clear throughout the album. A previous EP featured the song “Thatcher ****ed the kids” – yet this time around he adopts a more subtle approach reminiscing over demonstrations (Once We Were Anarchists) “The shortcomings got clearer, as the price we paid got dearer and dearer.” and “The times they aren’t a-changing – Yeah, England’s still shit and it’s still raining,” Really counter some of his more personal memoirs (Wisdom Teeth) “But my days have taught me this: That every day I spend pretending that I always choose the right path, Is a day that I choose the wrong.” and “When I was just a skinny lad on holiday by the sea, I met a girl in a Rancid shirt, and a tape she gave to me. With the Black Flag First Four Years and the Minor Threat Discography. Feature perfectly alongside the steadier lyrics on the album (Worse Things Happen at Sea) “You say “Worse things happen at sea”, I say “Worse things have happened to me”. Bitter eyes to the bedroom floor – And we’re not going to talk anymore”. There’s nothing really comparable to Franks lyrical style, as its so personal to him, yet still managed to speak volumes to every listener, each able to relate due to the very public themes he writes.

Impression: Well after one listen “sleep is for the week” will have you hooked, the simple melodies, thoughtful lyrics and multi-linear tones will always grip you every time you listen. There’s nothing against which this album can be compared, it stands alone, with a unique voice. Knowing Franks past, its possible to see him evolving as a musician, further pushing his new horizons till their peak, where I’m again he’ll change, perhaps we’ll see him fronting a metal band next who knows. There’s nothing much else I can say to persuade you to hear this, except that you’ll only know once you listen.