frankturnerFrank turner is a man who seems to have hardly slept since he began this solo venture of his back in 2006.  If he’s not writing he’s in the studio, and if he’s not in the studio he’s on the road. Positive Songs For Negative People is Frank’s sixth album and follows up 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, an album that saw him go out on his first UK arena tour.

There have been a few preconceived thoughts on this new record already. Since the last LP, Frank released an album with his hardcore side-project Mongol Horde, and went on the road to play a bunch of sweaty rock clubs in support of it. There is also a black and white photo of Frank crowd surfing on the cover of Positive Song For Negative People, so before listening to this record there is the impression that Frank has made a more urgent, punkier sounding record. But there is also the idea that, because Frank has gotten the hardcore bug out of his system, the new record is gonna be back to business with his usual, anthemic blend of punk, country, folk and indie-pop. The results of this record show Frank doing what he does best but with more urgency and grandeur than before.

The album opens with a delicate, acoustically driven folk song called ‘The Angel Islington’, which catches Frank in a reflective mood, following on from the melancholic tones of his last record, which was essentially the break up album. But before we have a moment to sink into this hushed opening, Frank picks up the pace with ‘Get Better’, a rousing rock song with one of his strongest choruses to date, and it is a truly glorious slice of hopeful, fist-pumping punk-rock. Two songs in and Frank is giving too much away about what this record is about.

The album continues to be a mixed bag, from the piano-thumping pop of ‘The Next Storm’ to the double speed county-punk snarl of ‘Out of Breath’. Frank never really misses a moment, trying to capture a mood for all occasions. But the song writing is always full of conviction and for the most part, this is a big rock sounding album: even the mid-album ballad ‘Mittens’ boasts a chorus ready to be sang back in big rooms!

Positive Song For Negative People steps up to deliver big, heartfelt sing-a-alongs, with sharper hooks and crisper melodies. There are a few tracks that don’t excite me as much as the others, which I think is due to them being a little too similar to some of his previous songs, but as Frank states in ‘Get Better’, “I’ve got no new tricks”. Frank very much has his own market now; he’s built up his fan base and he knows what works. That said, when Frank hits he hits hard, and it’s the rockier moments on here that really shine and are sure to attract more fans to his army!

Release Date 07/08/2015 (Polydor)

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.