Frank Turner, England Keep My Bones

Ian Gittins

By Ian Gittins

on 05.23.11 in Reviews

England Keep My Bones

Frank Turner

When Frank Turner quit the U.K. hardcore band Million Dead in 2005 and launched his solo career, he was so wary of being saddled with the dreaded "singer-songwriter" title that he told everybody that he was a folk singer. England Keep My Bones, his fourth album, finds him inching closer to fulfilling that description, yet he remains a punk individualist at heart, hollering songs of personal philosophy and recounting his rock 'n' roll adventures from his seemingly never-ending life on the road. (He recently played his thousandth live gig.)

More and more a folk singer, but a punk individualist at heart

Ironically, England Keep My Bones is least convincing when Turner ventures into traditional folk terrain, with the self-penned "new traditional" number "English Curse" coming off an ersatz and awkward exercise; he is far better when more personal, as on the self-searching "Redemption" and plangent "Peggy Sang The Blues," a tribute to his late grandmother. Even this is topped by the final track, the rousing "atheist gospel" sing-a-long Glory Hallelujah, which boasts a chorus of "There is no God! So clap your hands together!" and confirms that, like all good punks, Frank Turner remains a determined agent provocateur.