Frank Turner - Love Ire and Song

Marcus Warner 08/04/2008

Rating: 3.5/5

Frank Turner's promotional literature that accompanies his second album 'Love Ire and Song' makes no mention to his previous band (I will extend that courtesy) and I believe this is a sign of the growing confidence he feels as an artist. In fact this expansion of confidence and widening of musical horizons is clearly visible when you compare 'Love Ire and Song' to his debut album 'Sleep is for the Weak'.

You will never be able to really describe Frank Turner's sound without at least a passing reference to Billy Bragg, but that mainly emanates from Turner being quite lonely in following a similar path to Mr Bragg. The songs about politics such as the title track are more post-politics than a rallying call, all restless regret than manifesto for a new world order. Much like Bragg, Turner's best songs are his love songs.

The overly confessional nature of his lyrics may pall with some people, it did with me at some times, but overall this is a strong collection of songs that is an improvement on his debut. His use of a backing band seemed more prominent and gives 'Love Ire and Song' a welcome change of pace between tracks. From the opener 'I knew Prurock before he got famous', that sounds like Miles Hunt's 'Everything is not ok' to the piano-led closer 'Jet Lag', all the songs offer a welcome if familiar fayre of love, loss and country tinged instrumentation.

'Love Ire and Song' is a good album with good songs, an earnest attempt at writing a British sounding folk album with plenty of things going for it. Perhaps that sounds like it is lacking in superlatives, but what it doesn't lack is any real criticism of what is a strong set of songs.

I like the album a lot, but many people will baulk at its unclothed lyrics and well trodden musical path. To me that shouldn't deter Frank Turner one iota, as I believe he will only make stronger and stronger albums: this is good, but he will do better. Let's home the former Marxist doesn't do a New Labour Blairite Minister and turn full circle…he has too much to offer.