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Frank Turner
Campfire Punkrock
Xtra Mile Recordings
www.frank-turner.com


Folk music and protest songs have always been extent, from the originators and Dylan to the 80's and Billy Bragg to the current times and folks like Britain's Frank Turner. Turner churns out a set of barn-burning acoustic tunes with giant attitude, brilliant lyricism, and alternately, a fierce anti-government spirit. "The Real Damage" is a rambling story of modern life and the glorious pitfalls of drink, with some very fine lyrics and a sound that is very akin to Billy Bragg. Turner wears his heritage on his sleeve and drawls through his songs with his British accent in full effect, never succumbing to the weird concept of limeys singing in an American accent. "Nashville Tennessee" finds Turner burning through his reflections on being from England instead of being from the heartland of country music and wishing he had a country band, all to a moving guitar run and a melody that is highly reminiscent of early Proclaimers. "Thatcher Fucked The Kids" finds Turner at his government-criticizing best, going on about how the kids in Britain are all hooligans and how that can be blamed on the Thatcher years and the attitude of the country back then. This song is truly the punk rock attitude that many have tried for over the past thirty years, but Turner succeeds where so many have failed. His observational lyrics are sublime, with lines like "Whatever happened to childhood? We're all scared of the kids in our neighborhood. They're not small, charming and harmless, they're a violent bunch of bastard, little shits…we're all wondering how we ended up so scared. We spent ten long years teaching our kids not to care and that there's no such thing as society anyway. And all the rich folks act surprised when all sense of community dies, but you just close your eyes to the other side of all the things that she did, Thatcher fucked the kids." While the song has a nice sauntering bounce in the acoustic guitar, the lyrics have a venom that few have matched since the salad days of Billy Bragg's protestations.

Campfire Punkrock is an amazing glimpse of what a man can still do with nothing but an acoustic guitar and his own wits. The songs are brilliant, simply put. The music varies from simple acoustic guitar to full band with the occasional electric guitar, never becoming boring or predictable. Where Frank Turner really shines is in his sardonic sense of humor and his ability to craft simple, excellent melodies that carry his fine lyricism along. Need another reason to check out the record? Take one listen to "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The One Of Me" and you'll know what a perfect gem of modern folk you've come upon. Join in, sing along, rock out.

-Embo Blake

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