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Album Review: Frank Turner - The Second Three Years

With 2011 behind us, it's safe to herald it as the year of Frank Turner. Releasing an absolutely cohesive album, 'England, Keep My Bones', which ended up being praised on so many end of the year lists as well as an almost sold out (at this time of writing) show at the legendary Wembley Arena looming on the horizon. 'The Second Three Years' is almost a sequel to it's predecessor 'The First Three Year' which contains some of his most heralded material including 'Nashville, Tennessee', 'Dancing Queen' and a complete reinterpretation of The Postal Service's 'The District Sleeps Alone Tonight'.

Opening up with 'Sailor's Boots', a simple folk ditty, finished shortly after the completion of 'England, Keep My Bones', where Frank vividly describes a past life as a sailor behind a simply strummed guitar. Last year's 'Rock & Roll' EP is also included within the tracklisting for this EP featuring personal favorite 'Rock & Roll Romance' where Frank paints a portrait of his ideal relationship where him and his significant other "Could stay in bed 99% of the given time".

You can completely see the reasoning behind why Turner left a couple of these songs off of 'England, Keep My Bones'. Despite his storytelling style, 'Wanderlust', thematically, doesn't exactly fit into the jigsaw and feels too much like an awkward sequel to 'I Am Disappeared', not to say that it is a bad song though. 'Balthazar Impresario' is a song where Turner writes from the perspective of the character of Balthazar Impresario who sings about the decline of music halls in the 1950's.

The second half of this compilation comprises mostly of covers from an array of different artist. Going from huge names such as Take That and Bruce Springsteen up to Mark Mulcahey. The cover of Springsteen's classic 'Thunder Road' is a lot more stripped back compared to the huge wall of sound that is the original, it adds a lot more emotion to the song itself and leaves space for the lyrics to resonate. The cover of the traditional song 'Barbara Allen' enlightens listeners into music hundreds of years old and exposes the influence for Frank Turner's very own 'English Curse', the a capella midpoint on 'England, Keep My Bones'. Renditions of cringeworthy 'Last Christmas' by Wham! and guilty pleasure 'The Greatest Day' by Take That are performed a hell of a lot better than the originals and feels less like guilty pleasures, especially during the last chorus of 'Last Christmas' which provides a heartfelt ending to Frank Turner's second anthology with hopes of more to come in the future.


'The Second Three Years' is out now.

George Gadd

Alter The Press!