Review: Positive Songs For Negative People

Friday saw the triumphant return of Frank Turner, who released his sixth studio album Positive Songs For Negative People.  I was lucky enough to see Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls play at Reading Festival in 2013, and he put on a fantastic show.  It’s clear on my first listen to his new album that it will be full of crowd pleasers, the same as his previous records.

Fans of Frank Turner will be well used to his melancholy lyrics, and as the title of his latest record implies, it successfully carries on this trend.  Get Better, a single from the album, gave us a good idea of what to expect from his latest effort.

Positive Songs For Negative People does a great job of obscuring sad lyrics behind upbeat acoustic guitars, although the actual reasons for his melancholy – apart from heartbreak – aren’t made particularly clear.  It often takes a second or third listen to the tracks to see past the music and work out what they’re actually about.  Frank Turner’s music is ideal for sitting at the window with a steaming cup of coffee, watching the rain pour while you contemplate your life choices.  There are still enough positive stories in the lyrics to prevent the listener from spiralling into depression though.

Angel Islington is a beautiful, stripped-back and chilled introduction to the album.  It’s not exactly an explosive start, but it manages to set the overall tone of the record very well.  Get Better and The Next Storm help to kick things into gear, but the most energetic track is Out Of Breath by far, which brings the record to a crescendo.  The album is wrapped up by the contemplative Song For Josh, written in homage to his friend Josh Burdette who committed suicide in 2013.

While this album sums up Turner’s work in a nutshell, I don’t think it stands out from the rest of his discography, so if you were hoping for something a bit different or experimental you may be disappointed.  Overall, if you were a fan of Frank Turner’s previous albums, then Positive Songs For Negative People will feel like a triumphant return for the Hampshire singer/songwriter.

Highlights: The Next Storm, Mittens, Josephine, Silent Key

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