Talking Points:: Frank Turner England Keep My Bones

I know herohill keeps it as Canadian as Degrassi, but there are a few US records that have blown my mind and dominated my listening habits lately. Obviously, the new Tom Waits record is fantastic and I’ll hash out some thoughts about Bad As Me soon, but the surprising staying power of the Frank Turner record is something our readers need to experience.


Instead of hammering out a long winded review for such a visceral album, I’m going to go with a Naedoo-styled “talking points” post. So, without further ado, here’s what I think about the rock solid England Keep My Bones:


  • England Keep My Bones is the definition of a grower. When I first heard it, I was impressed by some of the songs but felt it failed to live up to the heights of Live Ire & Song, but now I think it’s his strongest start to finish release.
  • How about that simple, Queen like harmony on “Eulogy?” God damn, it’s perfect.
  • It’s amazing how Turner can make lyrics about rock n roll saving us all seem like a call to action and inspiration instead of hokey, bar room poetry.
  • The piano work that bounces behind Frank’s voice on “Peggy Sings the Blues” is infectious and shows this band is more than acoustic, folk punk.
  • Speaking of which, all the punkers that pick up an acoustic should take note: Turner keeps the energy and optimism high and the record is better as a result. These are everyman anthems, but not so ease the depression of the fallen working glass. Turner is urging people to just keep trying.
  • “Rivers” is a prideful tune, written to pay tribute to his country but it also starts a very bold section of the LP. Tasteful mandolin dances alongside the acoustic work and shows Turner can work with bigger tapestries.
  • Obviously, offering a purely a cappela tale (“English Curse”) is a risky move, with potential to act as nothing more than a flip from Side A to Side B, but it’s surprisingly enjoyable. I will also say I used to skip this song, but now enjoy it.
  • “One Foot Before The Other” jump starts the back side of the record with a heavy electric chug and drum crashes.
  • I think people hear Turner’s voice and want to force political comparisons (Billy Bragg being the most obvious) onto his work, but I don’t think Turner’s goal is to raise awareness on social issues or tear down the government. Turner is here to inspire the downtrodden, not provide answers but simply offer a place to go for a pint and sing along. His music is an escape not a beacon of hope, and in today’s age of information overload, an escape is probably more valuable.
  • When I hear “Wessex Boy”, all I can think is that Turner’s a perfect example of sacrificing for what you love. I’m sorry, but if it was easy, we’d all be driving in vans, getting drunk nightly and singing our songs for loving fans. The thing is, it’s not. Vans suck. Floors are rock hard and the terrorizing notion of being broke the minute your 15-minutes are up is what keeps all of us working jobs we hate and commuting back and forth. I don’t care if you like Turner or think he’s a fake. He’s out there doing it, which most of us will never be able to say we did.
  • “Nights Become Days” could be a Patrick Park song, meaning this song could be slid into almost any meladrama on Prime Time and have this brash, gruff poet playing in Starbucks.
  • “Redemption” is probably the most enjoyable track on the record. Simple, surging and pure. This is the type of songwriter Dashboard Confessional should have become. I will say, when the guitar kicks in and the piano takes off, it’s more like Something Corporate than it needs to be, but I’m ok with that.
  • Unlike most, I actually find “Glory Hallelujah” a bit off putting. Musically, it’s destined to be a song Turner fans raise glasses and scream along to, but it’s a little too Kensington market barker for me. The existence of God is a delicate subject and simply asking people to sing along to “there is no god” and stumble through some double negatives feels like far too casual way to address the subject. Either way, it’s a song that people will freak the fuck out about in concert, so I don’t think Turner will be concerned with me asking for more from him and certainly one or two minor stumbles can’t take away from the success of this LP.
  • Frank Turner - I Am Disappeared by Epitaph Records




    This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 at 10:40 am and is filed under 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

    You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Talking Points:: Frank Turner England Keep My Bones”

mike November 10th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I heard some hype behind this when it first came out so went to youTube to sample a song. the first track that came back was “Glory Hallelujah” and it put me off. Sounds like I should give it a second go though. I like the track you’ve posted here.

Leave a Reply