"It made me want to stab myself in the face..."
Frank Turner

This week’s guest reviewer is punk-poet extraordinaire Frank Turner. Turner’s fifth studio LP, ‘Tape Deck Heart’, was released in April 2013 and charted at two on the UK albums chart. Impressive!

The latest single to be taken from ‘Tape Deck Heart’ is ‘Losing Days’, which is issued on September 1st. Before then, the singer and strummer calls at Reading and Leeds festivals (August 23rd and 24th respectively), where he’s the highest-billed British artist on the main stage. Again: impressive!

Check out the video for ‘Losing Days’ below; and beneath that, Frank offers his opinions on the new-release singles of August 12th. Impressed? Read on.

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Frank Turner, ‘Losing Days’, from ‘Tape Deck Heart’

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Bloc Party – ‘Ratchet’

I’ve always had a soft spot for Bloc Party, though I'll admit I pretty much totally lost touch with what they were up to a while back. I enjoyed this a lot, it has a lot of original sounds and production ideas. I felt like it could have used a slightly bigger chorus, but as a piece of dance music, this is pretty great, and it’s definitely a unique sound: this couldn't really be anyone else.

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Arches – ‘Be This Way’

I’m a sucker for Scottish indie, so the start of this had me excited, but it all felt a touch by-numbers as it went on. I couldn’t early pick out a lyric that stuck with me, and it felt like it was a little over earnest somehow, as opposed to having the genuine guts of Frightened Rabbit, or Arab Strap or whatever. I didn’t hate this by any stretch but it didn’t leave much of a mark on me. The Hollywood strings at the end made me a little sick in my mouth, too.

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Lulu James – ‘Step By Step’

I feel like I’m slightly out of my comfort zone reviewing a track like this, it’s not really to my taste in general. I’m a lyrics guy, and the words to this swing boringly between being asinine and just lame. Sonically it’s really well put together, but I just stopped paying attention about a quarter of the way through. If this is your bag, it might well be amazing, but I’m not going to pretend I’m into this kind of stuff.

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M.I.A. – ‘Bring The Noize’

This is another corner of the music world I don’t know masses about, but I actually really enjoyed this. I thought it was really original, the beats especially. She knows her way around language as well, which was great. I’m not sure I’m rushing out to buy the album just yet, but I’m still mentally turning this one over, which can only ever be a good sign.

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Avicii – ‘Wake Me Up!’

I was pretty sure I was going to hate this before I listened. Then it started off being pretty okay. Aloe Blacc’s vocals are cool, the melody is okay, the lyrics bearable. Then the video got toe-curlingly shit (is that dialogue on the actual track? It made me want to stab myself in the face), and the beat dropped in that tedious estate-agents-on-holiday-in-Spain kind of way, and I was back to where I started. No thanks.

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KT Tunstall – ‘Invisible Empire’

I’ve never been quite able to make up my mind about KT Tunstall. On paper she’s a decent singer-songwriter, but I think the sudden ubiquity of her songs when she first broke out made me suspicious of her backstory. But then, maybe that shouldn’t matter, because if the songs are good, who cares? Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about? This track is passable. It’s nice, if a little predictable (that chord sequence in the verse, the chorus is borrowing a little from that Feist song). I guess it slightly passed me by, but I sort of wished it luck as it went.

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Alice In Chains – ‘Voices’

Eh? Didn’t Layne Staley die ages ago? (Heads to Wikipedia.) Huh, apparently so, but they’re still together, with a new singer doing a pitch-perfect impression of the old. Fair enough I guess. This sounds exactly like I thought it would sound before I pressed play, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on whether you like AIC. Personally I think they’re okay, if a little dated. So there it is.

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Want more Frank Turner? Read our interview with him from earlier this year. 

Find Frank online here

Photo: Brantley Gutierrez

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