Sound — 7
Frank Turner shows his storytelling skills in his latest release, Love Ire And Song. Turner's songs cover a gamut of moods from the sunny, upbeat folk broth of Reasons Not To Be An Idiot to the gulfs of smooth blues-folk lining Better Half. His storytelling has a bluntness that is usually reserved for the crowd gathering at the back table of a pub, pinned to the narrator whose ramblings have no censoring. This describes Turner's song Long Live The Queen perfectly, a folksy rock number loaded with barb-wired guitars, taut rhythmic strokes, and choppy vocals that spew freely as overtones of angelic strings seep in and out of the tune. Some tracks have a slow country folk waddle like Christopher Is Coming Home, Turner's likeness to famous Irish tune Danny Boy and the belt of soft tatters along the title track. The spinning wheels of Imperfect Tense and Photosynthesis have rollicking motions and a glint of Irish accents in the flapping chords, but none of the tracks are more brazenly Irish sounding than To Take You Home with flighty strings and feathered guitar chords moving to an Irish Jig. Rows of escalating and descending slopes garner the tune with a sense of optimism as hallways of echoing drumbeats pipe in with a jolly spree. The bluesy overtone of the piano ballad Jet Lag project a pensive mood, which drifts into the calmly stroked waves and spiritual folk lifts of The Ballad Of Me And My Friends. The song has a deep penetration liken to Neil Young trussed up in softly winding acoustics and upward bound vocals.
Lyrics — 7
Turner's lyrics can be driven by political views like in Long Live The Queen or socially poignant like in Reasons Not To Be An Idiot but usually they are self-reflective like in the country-folk swags of Substitute. Turner intones, I've had many different girls inside my bed These days I cuddle up to my guitar instead / But oh, what I would give / Not to stumble but to really fall in love / And I could substitute my singing for the sound of someone sleeping next to me.
Overall Impression — 7
Frank Turner's style of singing is fluid with some rough edges. His music is often typical of Irish folk songs with melodic curves that have a shay of gruff. His uptempo tracks like To Take You Home and Photosynthesis have a catchy feel to them which makes them instantly likeable, but the smooth textured wraps of Better Half and Christopher Is Coming Home are also nice to cuddle up with on a rainy day. Turner's album adds to Ireland's legacy of folk musicians whose music reaches beyond the island's borders.