Frank Turner – Rock & Roll EP

written by: December 6, 2010
Frank Turner - Rock and Roll EP album cover 2010 Release Date: December 6, 2010


The trend of hardcore front-men turned singer-songwriters is permeating the music scene with greatly varying results. There are a precious few that are making music as engaging as their alma maters, but London’s Frank Turner is the only one to strike out on his own and surpass his previous work.

With the release of a new EP, aptly entitled Rock & Roll, Turner offers up five songs that show his strength as a musician and his greatly varied sound. The opening track and teaser for his forthcoming 2011 full length is “I Still Believe,” an uproarious sing-along about his love for rock & roll. It’s a highly accessible pop-rock song that never subsidizes Turner’s punk past. It’s easy enough on the ears to elicit simple toe-tapping and powerful enough for drunken pile-ons. It is this delicate balance that Turner always navigates with the utmost grace and makes him one of today’s most engaging artists.

“To Absent Friend” follows a similar path set by “I Still Believe” and proves to be one of the best rock songs Turner has ever written. On 2009’s Poetry of the Deed there were hints of the rocking potential that Turner’s folk songs had, but often found themselves loaded with gimmicky Celtic instrumentation. Regardless of the reason, both of the aforementioned tracks from Rock & Roll show Turner abandoning the Irish-punk formula and the songs are better for it.

The remaining three tracks on Rock & Roll display Turner’s ability to effortlessly transition to folk ballads without ever alienating his audience. “Rock & Roll Romance” only further displays Turner’s love of the genre – and apparently alliteration – by weaving a tale of a relationship that lacks the emotional investment, as characterized by Turner’s analysis in lines such as, “We’re cheating the world out of the fairytale love and conclusion/And that’s not really fair on us all.”

Each of the albums slower stripped down songs display Turner’s lyrical introspection, a trait that has proved to be one of his greatest assets since the release of his debut full length, 2007’s Sleep is for the Week. “The Next Round” closes out Rock & Roll and sees Turner delving into the reasons behind his use of alcohol and his attempted avoidance of alcoholism which all too often permeates the punk genre, “Drink has drunk my days away/I tried to live like Hemingway/Life just doesn’t work that way.”

Rock & Roll proves to be a great addition to Frank Turner’s already impressive catalog and a step up from the disappointment that was Poetry of the Deed. The songwriting on this EP is lively, the lyrics are inspiring and it shows Turner executing at a level that makes him one of the best songwriters of the modern day. If this EP is just an appetizer for what is to come from him over the next year then the music world is in for an intensely gratifying main course.

Rock & Roll EP Tracklist

  1. I Still Believe
  2. Pass It Along
  3. Rock & Roll Romance
  4. To Absent Friend
  5. The Next Round