Label: Xtra Mile Recordings
Despite most of my friends and seemingly most of the country listening to Frank Turner, for one reason or another, he seems to have passed me by. This means that instead of reviewing ‘England Keep My Bones’ as the tenth-anniversary edition that it is packaged as I can approach it with fresh eyes.
Songs such as ‘Peggy Sang the Blues’ and ‘I Still Believe’ are leading the folk-punk charge of ‘England Keep My Bones’. With a sound that’s about as rousing as you can get, you can almost feel yourself at a festival throwing your arms around a stranger that’s become your new best friend.
‘Rivers’ is about as close to a country song as you will get on England Keep My Bones with its mandolin and fiddle accompaniment. It provides a small change from what is a quintessentially British-sounding album, a sound I’m sure Frank Turner has curated carefully as he flies the flag for our good nation.
Personal Favourite ‘I Am Disappeared’ has a faint air of Frank Turner’s previous life in Million Dead almost feeling like an acoustic version of one of his previous band’s songs.
As this is a tenth-anniversary special, it’s all about the extra content. This comes in the form of a disc of demos which, in a refreshing change from convention, comes in the form of live demo material that was recorded previous to the album. Given that ‘England Keep My Bones’ has the energy and sound of a live album already, this may not add too much to the casual listener for the most part but will add an extra dimension to the seasoned Frank Turner listener. There is also an extra treat for downloads of ‘England Keep My Bones’ in a set of acoustic versions of the album. This is a nice alternative to the rallying call of the original and it’s nice to hear the songs stripped back and hearing Frank flex his folk muscles. In songs such as ‘Redemption’, it’s good to hear the nuances of the acoustic guitar that is usually overshadowed by the rest of the band.
This tenth anniversary special of ‘England Keep My Bones’ does exactly what it should do, act as a celebration of a landmark in Frank Turner’s career. With a little something for the hardened fan, it also serves to give the hint for people like me who have never heard the album that they should give it a go. I’m glad I did because what I’ve been shown is an album full of passion, pride, punk, and a reason to throw my arms around my friends