This ‘Frank Turner’ article was written by Greg Clark, a GIGsoup contributor
While Frank Turner insists his songs were written to be played to people in bars, 90% of this album was made for the type of air punching that wouldn’t look out of place at a Bruce Springsteen gig. Positive Songs for Negative People is simply one of the most complete albums of 2015, thus far.
The album is parenthesised by the polarising opening and closing tracks, “The Angel Islington” is a hope filled love letter to London while album closer “Song for Josh” is a heart-breaking ode to Josh Burdette – a friend of Turners who died of an apparent suicide in September 2013. Once again it’s just Turner and an acoustic guitar but this live recording shows vulnerability in Turners voice leaving the listener helpless yet compelled all at once.
In between these emotional parallels lies the rest of this album which in itself would be a fantastic long player but in between the opening and closing bookmarks almost feel like hidden gems!
“Get Better” is a rousing declaration of attempted self-improvement and wanting to do better “I’m trying to get better cos I haven’t been my best” Turner sings defiantly in a song which blatantly states where there’s life there’s hope. “The Next Storm” is a piano led ode to not being afraid and upon reflection seems the correct choice as the albums lead single. It is swiftly followed by the remorseful, reflective yet still uplifting “The Opening Act of Spring “, which while maybe lyrical melancholy of the highest order, you can’t help but tap your feet to it.
“Glorious You” and “Mittens “ keep up the pace before the absolute madness of “Out of Breath.” Two minutes and six seconds of mesmerising noise that hits like a punch in the guts and by the time you’ve regained your composure its gone like a thief in the night and you’re left wondering what exactly just happened.
With “Demons”, although there is no denying the catchiness of this song, there is also no denying the similarity between the tracks main riff and the opening of Status Quo’s jukebox classic “Down Down”.
The anthemic “Josephine”, with its drum and bass and stripped back verses, explodes into a catchy synth led chorus. It’s a song that builds to a climax with a call and response refrain that will undoubtably become a mainstay in Turners live set.
‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ is simply the next chapter in a blossoming musical career. Turner has an incredible ability to resonate with his admirers, so much so that each release feels quite personal to his audience. While he now sells out stadium the breadth of Europe this album still manages to feel intimate and not an over-produced melee – as some may expect from an artist whose star continues to rise at an almost unimaginable rate.
To sum up this album one has to look no further than the title. If you’re a negative person then these are the positive songs for you and if you’re a positive person? Well there’s no such thing as being too positive is there? A fantastic album that may not revolutionise music but might just make you smile. And that my friends is a victory in itself.
‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ is out now on Xtra Mile Recordings (Polydor)