December 07, 2010 - Epitaph
When U.K. post-hardcore outfit Million Dead split in 2005, vocalist Frank Turner grabbed his acoustic guitar and began traveling the long, winding path of a solo career. It may have seemed an unlikely thing at the time, but three albums and five years later, it was clearly the right decision. Blending the personal and political to powerful effect, his earnest, socially conscious songs and his relentless work ethic have seen him play all around the globe, his exuberant live shows leaving a dedicated following everywhere he sets foot. Now, instead of cellars and house parties, he’s selling out some of the largest venues in the U.K., and it seems the rest of the world isn’t that far behind.
Rock & Rollis a stop-gap between albums—a brief pause for breath after a year that, remarkably, saw Green Day ask him to support them for their U.K. stadium shows. Kicking off with “I Still Believe,” it’s an EP full of unbridled passion and joy that act as an antidote to the tumultuous state of the world. “Who’d have thought,” proclaims the huge, sing-along pre-chorus, “that, after all, something as simple as rock and roll could save us all?” The incredible thing is that, as he sings it, he breathes new life into the cliché, so that it does feel possible after all.
While that song will appear on his forthcoming album, the four that follow are exclusive to this release. “Pass It Along” is an updated medieval-sounding tribute to the likes of folk singers both old (Bob Dylan) and new (Chuck Ragan), while “Rock & Roll Romance” is a plaintive, gentle ode to love gone wrong. “To Absent Friends” is an upbeat blast of nostalgia that shakes this EP awake again from its mellow reverie, before “The Next Round,” a tribute to the cause of and solution of all life’s problems, ends things sometime after last call with a drunken, melancholy sing-along. A varied set of songs that’s imbued with the mysticism of folklore and the romanticism of rock ’n’ roll, this EP is a chance to take stock of the long journey that Frank Turner has taken so far, before he sets off once more into the future unknown.