Frank Turner - The Second Three Years

Frank Turner - The Second Three Years

In June, singer-songwriter Frank Turner saw his album England Keep My Bones reach #12 in the UK Album Charts.

Since then, the punk-folk star has risen further, his ascent topped off by the announcement of a headline show at Wembley Arena in April 2012.

In 2008 (between second album Love Ire & Song and 2009's Poetry of the Deed), Turner released The First Three Years, a collection of material not included on his studio albums.

The compilation brought together early EPs, sessions and other collection contributions from Turner, plus a handful of previously unreleased material.

Today Frank Turner has released The Second Three Years, which gathers material from...well, the next stage of his career.

It manages to gather its tracklist from a broader number of sources, from single b-sides and artist tribute albums to a Live Lounge session and (naturally) material that hasn't been released anywhere else.

The worth of the collection largely depends on how much of Frank Turner's catalogue you already own.

Exclusing songs from singles, EPs or the Deluxe Edition of England Keep My Bones, the majority of what remains are covers, although done well.

Turner's punk roots shine through on these, with covers of the likes of NOFX and Bad Religion standing out on the collection.

A rough, emotional take on 'Build Me Up Buttercup' sits nicely alongside covers of Nirvana ('On A Plain') and album-closer 'Last Christmas' (taken from Turner's live show at Union Chapel).

Not one to embrace music snobbery, Turner provides an up-beat, fantastic cover of Take That's 'The Greatest Day', and strangely it's on songs like this that the progression of his sound is shown.

When The Sleeping Souls (Frank's backing band) first appeared on 2009's Poetry of the Deed, the sound was that of a traditional rock band.

England Keep My Bones saw the band take a step back, as they began to complement Turner and his sound a lot more, rather than dictate it.

On 'The Greatest Day', Frank keeps the spirit of the song whilst giving it his own folk twist, and the band back him brilliantly throughout.

Continuing the Englishness of his recent record, a beautiful cover of Flanders and Swann's 'The Slow Train' provides a poignant moment that recalls Turner's early, journeyman days travelling to shows by rail with just his guitar.

Whilst a hardcore side-project is on the horizon in 2012, The Second Three Years is a solid reflection on the recent stage of Frank Turner's career as he braces himself for bigger things.

Female First - Alistair McGeorge (Follow me on Twitter @AlistairMcG)

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