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Poetry of the Deed (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

London-based singer and songwriter Frank Turner has been on quite a journey since he was a member of the pol-punk heroes Million Dead — it's been as a solo troubadour that Turner has established his reputation in the U.K. His records have gone from the stripped-down acoustic, Billy Bragg-inspired Campfire Punkrock EP in 2006 to the very electric Love Ire & Song in 2008. His brand of poetic indie punk-pop proved an underground — and later aboveground — smash in the United Kingdom. Poetry of the Deed is not appreciably different sonically than its predecessor, Love Ire & Song — and that's a very good thing. Produced by Alex Newport, this set is polished, immediate, and crackles with energy. Part of that is because of the live recording setting. All the instruments were played live, with few overdubs except for the vocals. The new touches are ace: the piano interludes and solos in the middle eights and bridges, the weave of acoustic and electric guitars, the subtle backing vocals, and the beautiful placement of the rhythm section in the mix as a swirling undercurrent guiding each chord change and chorus. The set opener, "Live Fast Die Old," is a classic kind of modern pop-punk anthem. The lyrics are a manifesto of redemption and a confession of youthful mistakes. The verse in the song contains the words "...I'm tired of being damned, I'd rather be saved/And we can never sell out because we never bought in...." "Try This at Home" is a blazing, hooky D.I.Y. number that celebrates the homemade nature of punk rock, encouraging folks at home to pick up guitars, pens, and paper and ultimately laying out this truth to the masses: "There's no such thing as rock stars, they're just people who play music/And some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks." Hilarious and true.

The title tracks is built on one of those terrific rock hooks you can't get out of your head after you've heard it once. Turner's voice is on the same level as the instrumental din, and the banging one-chord piano riff sounds like something off a Mott the Hoople record from the '70s. There's softer material here as well: Turner hasn't forgotten his acoustic roots at all; he's just learned to weave them through his love of rock & roll. "Dan's Song" is a tough yet tender tribute to a friend; the political-folkish "Richard Divine" contains an electric guitar riff at the forefront, but the fuel comes from the acoustic guitars. The beautifully nostalgic "Sunday Nights" contains a sparse drum kit, an acoustic guitar, and a Hammond B-3 organ that is reminiscent of "A Whiter Shade of Pale." The set ends with the gloriously sparse, moody, atmospheric "Journey of the Magi," which contains the line "...In the end/The journey's brought joys which outweigh the pain," offering a summation that is as fitting as it is truthful. Poetry of the Deed is ultimately an extension of what was achieved on Love Ire & Song, but it's a much more relaxed, comfortable-in-its-own-skin kind of record. Turner has grown tremendously as a lyricist, as well as a tunesmith. He's mastered the craft of writing tight and focused rock songs that transcend their beginnings but make no concessions to current sonic fashions. In other words, this is an album that will sound as fresh and powerful in five years as it does now, which is achievement enough.

Customer Reviews

Flogging Frank

Like CcholloO (review above) I saw Frank last night opening for Flogging Molly (ace band, of course, who were fab).

I'd not heard of Mr. T previously, but that's my fault. Frank and his band ripped up the joint and turned the crowd into fanatics by the end. Great music, charismatic, but friendly presence and powerful band (check out "The Road" video on the deluxe album -- 24 shows in 24 hours)!

Highly recommended.

Such A Great Band

I saw this guy when i went to Flogging Mollys green tour in austin last week and i was simply blown away, the pure sound of revolution he emits is incredible! they came on after a local band called the architects and set the stage for Flogging Molly to come on, truly a great band!


Continuing down the path as a walking legend, Mr. Turner has created another flawless gem.


Born: 1981 in Bahrain

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A former member of punk rock band Million Dead, Frank Turner turned his attention to folkier, acoustic "musics" after the demise of the aforementioned hardcore outfit. Born in Bahrain in 1981, Turner was educated at Eton College in England. His first foray into the world of punk and rock in the band Kneejerk came to an end in 2000, and he soon found himself joining up with Million Dead. Over the course of that band's four-year lifespan, Million Dead released two critically lauded albums, but the...
Full Bio
Poetry of the Deed (Deluxe Version), Frank Turner
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