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Scout Beck

Frank Turner

Scout Beck, Editor
credit Nicole C Kibert
credit Nicole C Kibert
The album is out and if it's sentiment is to be believed then Frank Turner has drawn a line under the heartbreak and turmoil of the past and moving on.

He demonstrates his feelings definitively, as promised, on 'Positive Songs for Negative People' his sixth studio album, a clear and cohesive collection of songs that ring with upbeat statements of intent.

He aimed too for the album to have the freshness of a debut, and it's there. It has an appealing simple energy, is refreshingly uncluttered musically and less introspective lyrically than last release 'Tape Deck Heart'. Though he acknowledges the past his eyes are firmly set out and forward, and from where he's singing, it looks pretty bright.

'I got me a future, I'm not stuck on the past', he declares in 'Get Better'. In 'The Next Storm'- 'I don't want to spend the whole of my life indoors' and 'I want to step out and face the sunshine'. With cries of 'Rejoice' and 'Goddamn, it's great to be alive!' it's clear that whatever darkness the singer was experiencing he's seeing the glimmer of light now.

'Glorious You' is dedicated to his cousin and is touching for it's tenderness. In 'Josephine' he hints at the desire for another important other in his life; it's typically questioning but the hope is there.

There's something genuinely emotional and stirring in the simple truths sung of in 'Demons' - 'Doesn't it just break your heart to know that none of this will last,' and 'You won't get everything you wanted but you will never be defeated'. It's a stand out song, energised, anthemic and affecting.

'Silent Key' is moving in it's depiction of the last moments of Challenger space shuttle victim Christa McAuliffe - it's beautifully done, an unusual departure into imagination for the musician and a captivating one.

And finally the acoustic purity of the heartbreaking eulogy 'Song for Josh' requires no comment at all.

I've read some baffling polemic reviews for 'Positive Songs For Negative People. It's either cohesive or disjointed; it's too much of the same for the fans or it's not enough.

It's currently number two in the album charts is all I'll inject into that debate.

In an earlier interview Frank said that to understand the declaration he made that this album is a definitive statement, and a summation of his previous work that I would need to hear the album. I have and it's clear. He's stripped it back, the intent and the delivery are renewed. That's where he was, this is where he is - it's clean live and refreshing and all the more real and exciting for it

So now PSFNP is here, we caught up with Frank to see how he's feeling upon it's release.

Hi Frank, congratulations, how are you feeling now the album is out?

"Good thanks; relieved almost. It's good to know it's finally out there."

How do you feel it has been received?

"Pretty well. Weirdly, normal people seem to like it much more than music journalists, on the whole. Go figure. At the end of the day though I'm confident I did my best, which is the only thing that really matters."

How do you feel when your music leads to comments on your political leanings or personal background?


Is it easy to stay focused only on what the fans think?

"I'm not sure how focussed I am on that anyway, from an artistic point of view. I think the only honest court of opinion is your own best judgement."

Has there been a reaction - positive or negative - to a song or the album that has surprised you?

"I've been pleasantly surprised by the strength of feeling around "Song for Josh", for sure."

PSFNP sounds like a new beginning, do you feel you are embarking on one musically and personally?

"Thank you. Uh, maybe, we shall see, haha. Personally I'm definitely in a better place than I was when I was writing "Tape Deck Heart"."

'Mittens' suggests that a love wasn't quite the love you thought it was - is that the case?


How do you feel about that?

"Not great, but older and wiser."

You also apologise on the album with 'The Opening Act of Spring', has that closed a chapter for you?

"I'm not sure the song itself closed the chapter, but a chapter certainly feels closed. I've made my peace with someone I care about."

Is 'Josephine' a hope for the future?

"In a way. It's a question, as to whether or not the perfect other exists."

You seem to be looking forward on this album in general, is that where you are on a personal level?

"I guess so."

The language on the album is direct, forthright and optimistic, is that a declaration of where you are or where you want to be?

"A little of both really. Most of the songs I write are addressed to myself in some way. They're normative pieces. So it's partly where I am, but also partly where I'm aiming for."

You've always been known for living on the road, how is having a permanent base suiting you?

"It's pretty nice actually, having a place to put my books and records out on shelves. But I don't want to get too settled."

How do you feel about touring the album?

"I'm excited to get out there and start playing these songs, now that people know them."

You're playing soon at a gig at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club, do you enjoy performing at those more intimate venues?

"Sure, it's fun to do from time to time."

When you've completed an album and beginning a tour do you take a break from writing?

"Writing is not a process that I can dictate. It happens in the time and place and manner of its own choosing. I suppose I'm a little less paranoid about writers block for a time after finishing something."

What are your immediate plans?

"I'm onstage in Zurich in an hour."

And what do you look forward to next?

"A good night's sleep!"

Read our earlier interview with Frank here