By Frank Turner
If I was three or four years older, I am fairly certain Million Dead would be one of my favourite bands of all time. The only thing holding me back from this at the moment is missing my chance to see them live. 'A Song To Ruin' is, in my book, easily one of the greatest debuts ever written, beaten by a select few, including Frank's 2006 solo debut, 'Sleep Is For The Week.' A brilliant merger of folk guitars, punk rock ideals and some of the most memorable lyrics ever. Frank Turner may not be the most adept at twisting words to create wonderful pictures, but he doesn't try to. He writes simple songs, about simple things, for simple people, to be sung until your vocal chords hurt whether at home with a few friends, or in a crowd of a thousand with Frank leading the chorus.
With 'Poetry Of The Deed,' it is instantly obvious Frank wishes to move away from the more solo sound of he last two albums. With opener 'Live Fast Die Old' he calls for an end to short but chaotic lives, "you'd rather be out than fade away? Well why not both man, yeah I plan to stay" he sings. It's followed by easily the most frantic (and quotable) track on the album, 'Try This At Home.' Frank's inspired criticism of musicians who take their success for granted, "there's no such thing as rock stars, there's just people who play music, and some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks" he calls, with as much passion as ever.
A few tracks on, the album swaps the furious rallying cries for slower, equally brilliant, tales of life. From the heartfelt 'Isabelle,' to escapist single 'The Road,' and the breathtaking 'Faithful Son,' 'Poetry Of The Deed' is every bit as touching as his previous efforts. However, major highlights are the gorgeous 'The Fastest Way Back Home,' quickly becoming my favourite track of the year, and epic nod to his spiritual forefather Billy Bragg, 'Sons Of Liberty.' A glorious call for rejection of the "nanny state," closing with the memorable lines "so if ever a man should ask you for your business or your name, tell him to go and fuck himself."
'Poetry Of The Deed' is a fantastic album, even if it is a little unsure about what it's try to accomplish, an issue most apparent on the title track. The opening few tracks could fit easily onto either of his folk punk infused previous albums, whereas in the latter stages Frank swaps furious acoustic guitars for epic ballads. The fact remains, that however much his sound has evolved, Frank Turner retains the attitude and values that inspired Million Dead's fantastic debut, and with that behind him, and his ever-growing army of fans, he should be unstoppable. As he calls in 'Try This At Home,' music is about "not thinking that you're better because you're stood up on a stage / if you're oh so fucking different then who cares what you have to say." Music of the people, by the people, for the people.