Album Review: Frank Turner – “England Keep My Bones”

As 2011 reaches its final quarter, we’ve experienced no shortage of fantastic folk/punk releases, including Frank Turner’s much-anticipated record “England Keep My Bones.”

As the album title suggests, the album is very “English,” right from the Ye-Olde-Brass-Band start in “Eulogy.” But within minutes, we’re back into the familiar heavy-hitting and profane folk/rock territory that we know as the music of Frank Turner.

The amazing thing about this album is that for how diverse it can be musically, it still keeps a sense of fluidity and smoothness until the very end. Songs of gospel-rock, trad brass, folk, and country are fused together with surprising ease.

On the other hand, the price that’s paid for that diversity is that the album as a whole doesn’t seem to really have one direction. Yes, the album is very English, but the songs in the first half of the album don’t always seem to get along with those in the second half. The transitions are there, but the content just doesn’t always feel completely in sync. That’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world, because it allows for an interesting mix of songs about death, religion, music, ¬†wanderlust, and philosophy.

My favorite tracks of the album are “Eulogy,” “I Am Disappeared,” “If Ever I Stray,” and “I Still Believe”(the only track carried over from the Rock n’ Roll EP of 2010).

The only tracks I find myself continuously skipping are “English Curse” and “Wessex Boy.” Not that they are bad songs, it’s just that they tend to bore me. My only other complain is that the title of “Glory Hallelujah” should be changed to “Let’s See How Blatantly Atheist I Can Possibly Be.”

All in all, a great record and a must-listen-to release of this year, and of Frank’s career. What this album lacks in concept it more than makes up for in talent and good songwriting, and I, for one, cannot wait to hear Frank’s next endeavor.

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