I adore Frank Turner's previous album, England Keep My Bones. It was a love song to the things he loves: politics, punk, literature. But listening to him sing songs about love on Tapedeck Heart? I wasn't sold.
According to Wikipedia, Turner expressed some concern that recording in a bigger-budget studio with a fancy-pants producer would make it seem like he had sold out. He's not entirely wrong. The first three songs on the album aren't terrible -- they're just not great. And all because the production values and fancy producer's choices make Turner and the Sleeping Souls sound like late-stage Better Than Ezra (not a compliment.)
But Turner recovers his voice for the fourth song, "Plain Sailing Weather." It's scrappy and low-fi and it's the one song that gives the album its Parental Advisory Warning. Other standouts include "Four Simple Words," which Punknews hated but I adore. A real crowd-pleaser, and it's enough to remind you why you love rock'n'roll. "The Fisher King Blues" is an impressive American Gothic tale for the ages.
There are four tracks on Spotify that you won't get on the physical album. (Why are they punishing slow adapters like me? :( :( :( ) They're better than most of what made it to the final cut.
Overall, Tapedeck Heart would be great for anyone else. But don't let it be your introduction to Frank Turner.
And here's a video since I'm too lazy to find mp3s to link:
Frank Turner -- Official, Facebook, Google+, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify