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Right Said Frank Frank Turner's Undefeated LP is remarkable for being, when you think about It

Right Said Frank

Frank Turner's Undefeated LP is remarkable for being, when you think about It

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

Also, I'm 42. Which is not a sexy, rock'n'roll age. But all through my career, I've been interested in writers like Loudon Wainwright III or The Hold Steady, people who write about adulthood, essentially. - Frank Turner

(Xtra Mile Recordings)

There are more of course than the two tracks I've listened to so far from a new Frank Turner LP, Undefeated, out on May 3rd. But let's stick with those since I am excited by them and it's green bin day and I need to rake the forsythia petals from the lawn. I'm not usually that meticulous and I could let them rot. I could wear headphones and listen to the entire Frank Turner LP. Neither of those things are going to happen this morning.   

Frank Turner has been treading the boards for 25 years already, and a tenth LP, while retaining some semblance of a point, some patina of authenticity, there's a sense he's long since reached an intersection where none of those external banalities matter to him. In music, a career reality is that anything at all beyond the 'industry wheels are turning and turning and bad habits are hard to break' by the time you make a third or fourth LP let alone a tenth, is truly notable.

He's mercifully self-aware, “There are no clichés about the difficult 10th album, so in some ways, that's a liberating statement. But at the same time, I have a duty to justify writing and releasing a 10th album. That's a lot of records for anybody. Also, I’m 42. Which is not a sexy, rock’n’roll age. But all through my career, I've been interested in writers like Loudon Wainwright III or The Hold Steady, people who write about adulthood, essentially.”

Is it okay to day he's looking pretty good for 42.

Frank Turner by Shannon ShumakerI'm sure Frank still has a lot to say and saying it with nods to Richard Ashcroft, in memories of Buzzcocks or pre-funky Joy Division or Magazine is the way Frank has chosen to do it. The two tracks I homed in on, 'Ceasefire' and 'Girl From The Record Shop', got that 80's guitar mancland energetic, frenetic, running out of time sound, drums driving the song. Guitars jangle, they twinkle. The theme, lover's rows, arguments, and needs to compromise, and well we all know how this ends all too often, and it's not in lovers' embrace. Words to make peace, make-up and thrive. Cease fire, love's closeness, realpolitik, pub rows, peace is bloody hard work.

'Girl From the Record Shop' runs over some common themes. IRL, it still appears to be mainly boys in the record shops. They are this century's trainspotters. And I'm put in mind of Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity' whenever the debate rages 'round record shops. Hornby owns that now. Still, pastiche, tribute, who knows, but instantly it brings to mind minor Manchester 70's classic "I'm in love with the girl, on a certain Manchester Megastore check-out desk". As I am sure Frank, knows too. Classic, unrequited love, yearning, daydream fantasies. Frank touches the same themes, with the same sense of urgency, but lacks the hopelessness, the self-deprecating irony of the original, but good fun all the same.

Undefeated features Frank's live band, (weren't they called the Snakes at one point?). Honestly, it is okay to be only semi-well informed? The band works so well here, it coheres, there's no trachea of technology sucking the notes from the one eye on the sheets dudes while stripping away the dirt, fluids and foreign particles. You get the dirt, fluids and foreign particles in a very, very analogue way, so kudos to the band; Ben Lloyd (guitar), Tarrant Anderson (bass), Callum Green (drums) and Matt Nasir (piano), for really showing up.

This record, as I heard so far, well, 'Ceasefire' and 'Girl From The Record Shop' - and I am writing this with a 30 tooth lawn rake in one hand - recalls the times when music was fun despite the world's grimness, when there were jewels of joy, on the streets, in the bars and clubs, of a City getting left behind, and not giving a sod's arse. Tribute to Manchester's first golden age in the late 70s, post-punk, pre-indie times. I actually rather love both tracks, just sheer unadulterated, undiluted, guitar power pop fun.

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»



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