England Keep My Bones Review

artist: Frank Turner date: 06/27/2011 category: compact discs
Frank Turner: England Keep My Bones
Released: Jun 6, 2011
Genre: Folk Rock, Folk Punk
Label: Xtra Mile Recordings, Epitaph
Number Of Tracks: 12
Much like "Poetry Of The Deed", Frank Turner's 4th full album is a mostly band-orientated effort. "England Keep My Bones" is almost certainly Turner's most accomplished work musically.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
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reviews (3) 4 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
England Keep My Bones Reviewed by: Bozjoarmstrong, on june 06, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Much like "Poetry Of The Deed", Frank Turner's 4th full album is a mostly band-orientated effort, but unlike his previous album it effectively conveys Turner's personality and individuality - perhaps his two most endearing traits. "England Keep My Bones" is almost certainly Turner's most accomplished work musically; across the 13 tracks he effectively displays a range of talents and styles without alienating one track from another, aided by his band, who here are better than ever before. The album opens with the classic and unmistakable sound of an English brass band in "Eulogy", before the memorable lead single "Peggy Sang The Blues" brings the album to life. This is straight-up anthemic rock n' roll but with Frank Turner's unmistakable folky twist. This is also notable as a song with an excellent bassline, my compliments to Turner's bandmate there. The toured and tested "I Still Believe" is next. With it's "Hear Ye" refrain and stirring vocal performance this is an obvious crowd pleaser and on reflection, one of the album's best songs. "If Ever I Stray" is in much the same vein as this; catchy, uplifting, and in a strange way nostalgic. This is music to make you smile. However, efforts such as "I Am Disappeared" and perhaps most strikingly "One Foot Before The Other" see Turner venture into a heavier, more epic sound, the latter song featuring some pretty impressive fuzz guitar. "English Curse" is another song that completely stands out with regards to experimentation as Turner goes a capella. This is not to say that fans of his older work should fear though. Each song is distinctly Frank Turner, and for those looking for more safe ground, "Rivers" and "Nights Become Days" echo "Sleep Is For The Week". His sound remains entirely unique and unconcerned by the mainstream, perhaps strange as he has been lingering on the outskirts for a while. For sticking firmly to his principles, I heartily commend Frank Turner, not that I would expect anything less of him. // 9

Lyrics: Frank Turner is an excellent lyricist, and anyone who has heard even one of his songs will already know that. Maybe his one issue though, is in the repetition of lyrical themes. As on previous albums, the idea of "my home" is frequent; "Rivers" offers nothing new and "Wessex Boy" is self-explanatory. "I Am Disappeared" explores similar content, but in a more creative way, describing people as "electric pulses in the pathways of the sleeping soul of the country". "English Curse" is another typical Turner effort about stealing an Englishman's land (see "Sons Of Liberty") but the a capella vocals stop it from becoming filler. It is the personal and honest nature of his lyrics though that keep listeners like me coming back for more. Turner wears his influences on his sleeve; Freddie Mercury, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are all referenced on "England Keep My Bones" whilst a less familiar influence (apparently his grandmother) is present in "Peggy Sang The Blues". The aspect of honesty arrives in "Redemption" "I can't stand what I've done to you" and "Glory Hallelujah" where he is at his most blunt "There never was no God". So whilst Turner's lyrics themselves are consistent as ever, it is the way they are delivered that makes it again, his best effort yet. Never before has Turner been this catchy and anthemic; his "Hear Ye"s and "1234!"s are simply irresistible. He is also complimented wonderfully by his bandmates and in the last track, a choir. Frank Turner has indeed experimented with every aspect of his music here and perhaps in the vocals more than anything else, he has been extremely successful. // 10

Overall Impression: It's a joy to behold when an album really comes together. On "England Keep My Bones" Frank Turner has created 13 songs that suit the Shakespearian title perfectly. They are thoroughly English, modern yet traditional, nostalgic and for the most part, uplifting. Every single song has its individual charms, yet they all merge inconspicuously, just as any good rock album should be. Whilst I'm struggling to pick any stand-out tracks, this is largely because I'm struggling to note any flaws. Whilst some songs are less memorable than others, they are essential in that they create the perfect mix of light and shade which makes "England Keep My Bones" Frank Turner's best album so far, and one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. His influences, all the way back to Shakespeare, would be proud. // 10

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overall: 9.3
England Keep My Bones Reviewed by: Sinwroth, on june 08, 2011
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Frank has always had what I've wanted to be in a musician, a deep soulful voice and a feeling he means what he sings. It wouldn't be fair to say this album follows the direct paths of his ones, far from it, it contains many tracks which really show Frank's Punk origin's shining through; such as "One Foot Before The Other" which are very different to what he's done before. Of course it has instant Classics, "Peggy Sang The Blues" of course being an instant hit and very similar to much of his other work. This album is much more reflective though, tackling mainly a theme of death and the past but in a much more direct way than Frank's previous albums, But still retaining the sincerity and the clear fun in Frank's music. I also found it a much more upbeat album this time, unlike "Poetry Of The Deed", which Is very sombre for the best part, this album features maybe some of Frank Turner's most lively songs, having said this though there are still the beautiful slow songs which Frank sings so well, "Nights Become Days" being among these and being one of the most awe inspiring songs on the album. // 9

Lyrics: There is never a doubt with Frank's albums that the lyrics are going to be to a high standard, he has a playfulness with his words which makes him the recognised song writers of the modern age. Which much of his soulful and meaningful lyrics back in this album sporting some of the most meaningful lyrics of any of his albums. Each song has some deep meaning which is reflected in the relate-ability of many of his songs as his songs are not cryptic but more literal poetry which makes his music very listen-able. I could go on for hours about how much I enjoy Frank's voice but I feel it's pointless, go out and buy this album and experience the magic of his voice, its not operatic or unique particularly but it flows so well with his music and make for a quality album which so much going for it. // 10

Overall Impression: I've Listened to some fantastic albums this year it has been a very good year for music so far but this album really holds its own as one of, if not the best album I've heard so far this year. It has a true spirit running all the way through it. However I will say, I know I've sung it's praises all the way through this review, if I was to recommend any Frank Turner album I would still tell you to get Love, Song and Ire but it really is a tough call "England Keep My Bones" has so many brilliant tracks all of them unique in its own way spanning form gorgeous acoustic songs to near punks songs. Frank really has produced something special here. Also as a little point the deluxe edition case is really nice as well, well worth the extra money! This album really was worth every penny, so much so I was tempted to buy the limited edition vinyl as well, but I just managed to resist. If you want something new to listen, or have heard a few of Frank Turner's songs and and umming and ahhing about it, let me put you out of your misery and buy this album! // 9

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overall: 9
England Keep My Bones Reviewed by: jcoops39, on june 27, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Fans of Frank Turner's earlier works will by now be more than familiar with the folk-punk, acoustic guitar feel of his albums, what's refreshing on 'England Keep My Bones' is that his rapidly rising fame is allowing him to develop his sound. That doesn't mean wholesale changes, but there are moments throughout the album that certainly wouldn't have happened on "Sleep Is For The Week", for example. The album kicks off with a slow, brass band piece that is wholely unexpected and puts you in mind of a Yorkshire coal mine. This is obviously intentional and is pre-emptive of the albums overall feel of patriotism. Barely a minute later in the track ("Eulogy") we're treated to some classic Frank Turner lyrics and a massive crescendo of distorted, full-on rock guitars that then fade out into the first full-length track. It really is a great kick-off. Further on down the line, the Irish-folk violin of "Photosynthesis" makes a welcome comeback, as do those heavy guitars from the start which do a great job of breaking the songs up. Frank's "signiature" acoustic work and vocals pervade throughout. If you liked any of his other albums, you will like this. // 9

Lyrics: Again, if you've listened to him before... But for those who haven't, the folk-punk genre was invented for Frank Turner. He can go from smooth, sweet singing to a full-on shout in the space of a song, and he has the very happy knack of getting 2 or 3 lines of a track stuck on a loop in your head. Depsite being (sometimes) slightly cliched, you just can't help being inspired. This album is no different; typically brash ("At least I f--king tried") with sweet bits sewn in between. What sets "England Keep My Bones" apart is that first word: England. There must be 6 or 7 songs on the album centering on the theme of patriotism, being at home... "Wessex Boy" and "Rivers" are prime examples, but there are more. I suppose you'll appreciate that more if you are, in fact, English, but everyone can relate to what he's trying to say. In a new twist there's even an instrument-less, completely spoken track, "English Curse", set just after the Norman conquest that works very well and will get inside your head. Frank abondons his usual tactic of ending an album on a ballad and switches it for a gospel, albeit with the main strapline of "there is nooooooo God". All in all, lyrically everything his fans have come to expect; in your face and easy to follow. // 9

Overall Impression: I must admit, I've been waiting for this album, and it says something that I bought it before the Arctic Monkeys "Suck It And See", which was released on the same day. It hasn't disappointed in the slightest. The unexpected musical directions work brilliantly and they aren't used to an extent that will put established fans off. "I Am Disappeared" is the highlight for me, while "One Foot Before The Other" shows a slightly heavier side to Frank's music than you might be used to. Some of the songs could even be re-workings of stuff he's already written, notably the apology to his friends for not being around and the cliched "clothes on my back" chorus of "If Ever I Stray", but you just don't care, because it's a great song in it's own right and, most of all, you believe that he means it. It feels like a complete album rather than just a bunch of songs thrown together, with themes of nostalgia, patriotism and (to some extent) romanticism a constant throughout, and that is definitely a plus point; it feels like a lot of thought had gone into the overall work. If you're into folk-punk, and you've never heard any Frank Turner before, buy this. Then buy the other three. // 9

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