Consistency can be a great thing, but it's also a little dull to write about. Earlier this year, Frank Turner released his sixth studio album, and it was no better nor worse than any of the previous ones. Which is to say that it was uniformly excellent throughout: inspirational and life-affirming, lyrically rewarding and fist-pumpingly anthemic. In a just and sane world, Frank Turner would be a household name rather than a well-kept secret indulgence. Still, I think he's probably quite happy doing his own thing with the support of a devoted army of worshippers (a little too zealous for some: a Turner gig can be a daunting prospect for anyone who's only casually acquainted with his back catalogue, especially when everyone else knows every lyric and wears the best of them as tattoos).
As an album on its own, Positive Songs For Negative People does exactly what it says on the tin. If 2013's Tape Deck Heart was his heartbreak disc, this is the recovery record. Virtually every song is about coming out the other side and getting on with your life, and if you were to boil the whole record down to one lyric it would be this...
I'm trying to get better, because I haven't been my bestNothing can defeat Frank Turner on this album - from heartbreak to demons to a particularly tough tennis opponent... to death itself. Yes, as he reveals on Silent Key, he's not even worried about the big sleep, not since the secrets of the afterlife were revealed to him via ham radio when he was four years old. He even manages to write a tribute to a suicidal old friend and remain positive. I think I'm going to keep this CD in the car permanently; then, whenever I've had a bad day, I can put it on and get better... because we're not dead yet.
She took a plain black marker, started writing on my chest
She drew a line across the middle of my broken heart and said,
"Come on now, let's fix this mess..."
We can get better - because we're not dead yet.
Which brings us to Number 1, perfect for lovers of voodoo, tickles and matching sweaters. My wish, granted.