No one cal play with words as good as Frank Turner. His lyrical style is unexcelled. As much as I adore Frank, I will be frank and say how minus and plus cancel each other out. I swear, I saw it on my calculator. Repertoire of sincere love problems and life experiences shaped into inspiring and empathetic folk-rock songs is what I expected from Frank Turner. Everything is still there on his latest album, only in low quality.
Rock and punk are almost not present on Positive Songs For Negative People. The sound of instruments is inconsistent and messy. Drums sound cheap and guitar is not precise. The vocal often lacks a proper volume dynamic. I am not sure if this was Frank’s goal or his hands was tied by his record label but the overall impression is – this was recorded irresponsibly. Arena sing-along sound sounds forced. Contrast in sound and quality between this and the previous album is huuuge.
Lyrically, some tracks seem intrusive. It is one thing to be inspiring and completely other one to be tiring and Frank is often somewhere in between. Perfect example is Glorious To You. Nothing should be forced, neither optimism or cough syrup.
Some tracks sound corny, even for Frank Turner who is a master of turning sleazy into something cheerful. The best example of it is The Angel Islington – above average minimalism.
The rest of the album seems like Frank has jumped into the lyrical-sonic rabbit hole of recursively. Nothing new. My favorites are Silent Key and Song For Josh.
The whole thing doesn’t sound neither like a deluxe acoustic album nor marketing stunt. Positive Songs For Negative People is a fair played record but nothing more. Big failure compared to Tape Deck Heart.