Not everyone grows up to be Freddie Mercury, but you know what? Frank Turner is a pretty close second and a decade on from the release of the hit album England Keep My Bones, his army of fans is rejoicing.
Ten years on and the bread and butter of this album remain just as touching. ‘Eulogy’ still has the ability to make the hairs on my arms stand on end, with its rough and rugged sound made even more moving in the El Paso demo, which has a proper uncut and upfront feel to it. ‘I Still Believe’ is still the anthem it was when I first heard it ten years ago and ‘Glory Hallelujah’ still makes us screaming, rebellious fourteen-year-olds wondering if this is where we fit in with its anarchist sentiments.
The demo session version of the moving ‘I Am Disappeared’ is both joyful and morose despite it’s upsetting theme of uncertainty. It is made so much better for the slightly more haphazard production, making it catchier and more relaxed; it immediately and mindlessly joined my playlists.. This album is one of joy, anger, rebellion and authenticity, all things that haven’t dissipated over the last ten years and have instead been more deeply entrenched in the demos on this release, and particularly set in stone by the acoustic and acapella versions it carries with it.
Adding in these versions was brave but to be expected. Frank Turner’s last priority seems to be looking or sounding good; the additions are a vehicle for Frank’s authentic and underproduced sound, expressing his emotions in song. Crackly and rough around the edges, the new additions to this album showcase the honesty of Turner as a performer. The inclusion of these versions portrays Turner as he would like to be seen, a little chaotic and impromptu, a few drinks down at the local, whipping out a guitar in Winchester institution The Railway Inn. But when you hear his songs, one after another, giving and taking whatever they need to and from the listener; they are simply beautiful, except maybe for ‘Barbara Allen’, which is just a bit too rough and folky compared to the original album.
Like Amy, the ongoing melancholia disguised in a hefty drum beat and grabbing tempo will never go away when it comes to Winchester’s very own Frank Turner, making music. Whether it was the rippling cries of ‘I Still Believe’ in a bustling festival crowd that set you into a spiral of love for Frank, or maybe you too sat on the back of a bus and let ‘Glory Hallelujah’ coarse through you… Whatever brought you to his music, England Keep My Bones was and still is one of the biggest reasons to stay.
They make new Disney versions of films they have done before every so many years so that new generations get to experience them. I think we need to start doing the same for Frank Turner albums. See you all for Tape Deck Heart.
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