Frank Turner – Undefeated [Album Review]

Review: JD Garrahy

Hold steady children, I’m going to give my best attempt to review an album that has the musical perfection we’ve all been waiting for.

Frank Turner has a way with words, no doubts there, but his latest offering Undefeated is the perfect showcase of this skill. There’s laid back ballads, high energy punk-esque lashings and love songs that conjure imagery of someone that has truly found happiness with the person they love.

As we relax into the opening track ‘On My Way’, it sets the mood for what you want and expect to follow on from 2022’s stellar album, FTHC. Second track ‘Show People’, while a little more upbeat, keeps with the mellow tones, adding in a roughly distorted guitar to accompany the lyrics perfectly.

‘International Hide And Seek Champions’ gives us our first taste of what will surely be a crowd favourite at any Frank Turner gig. The tempo increases and the vocals give you a positive feeling deep down in the depths of your soul. Pop punky and perfect.

‘The Leaders’ is so playful, and I KNOW that I’ll be whistling this on the daily. While the upbeat feeling is positive, the message is political, and it fits perfectly. A defiant song that confuses the listener by what should be a punk act of rebellion, is simply happy instrumentals carrying the message. I love it.

‘No Thank You For The Music’ is such a brilliant song. Yelling in unison is something that we’re used to at FTHC shows, and this is sure to be one of those songs that gets everyone moving and in damn fine spirits.

‘East Finchley’ brings the pace down and showcases a poet that can bring a room together with only the content of his works. Beautiful and relaxing, you almost lose focus and forget that there are instruments present in this track as well.

‘Letters’ and ‘Pandemic PTSD’ hold the centre of the album together and there is no better way to glue a brilliant first half to a fantastic second part. Cheerful and dance worthy, while still holding an air of humour which is the Frank Turner way, these 2 tracks set the tone for what is coming up.

‘Girl From The Record Shop’ keeps the tempo fresh and feels like it was taken straight out of the late 80’s/ early 90’s, thus proving that Turner can transcend time with his writing style.

‘Ceasefire’ is gentle yet speaks volumes in its lyrical content. The struggles of relationships are plentiful in this world, but Turner knows how to make it into a song. He puts into words what us mere mortals cannot.

‘Never Mind the Back Problems’. Where has this song been all my life? With a feeling of the perfect drinking song coupled with a title that I’m sure is the story of my life. This song is my number one on the whole album. Gives off Flogging Molly vibes and I’m sure if Davey and the lads joined Frank on stage for this song, it would be damn well received *hint hint – wink wink*

‘Do One’ is a great motivational track. Basically, it’s all encapsulated in the opening verse with, “don’t take anyone’s shit!”. We had a brilliant sing-along in Brisbane when it was added to the setlist on his most recent Australian tour. It’s a song that has the ability to bring the crowd together and show people that have never been to one of his shows exactly why we’re all fans.

‘Somewhere In-between’ deals with the struggles of personal identification and navigating life and all its hurdles. While still gentle in its delivery, the impact of this song is massive and paints a picture of what a lot of people deal with on a day-to-day basis. Leave it to Mr. Turner to write a song that helps the many feel less isolated in their own bodies and minds.

Title track ‘Undefeated’ closes out the album. Another song that gives a reminder to the many, who may feel defeated at times, that this is only temporary, and they WILL be undefeated when they overcome whatever obstacle is in their way. Seriously sir, why are you not doing motivational speaking? The perfect way to round out such a mammoth album.

If FTHC was the return to Turners hardcore roots, then Undefeated is surely the love song written for his folk music driven heart.

Frank Turner is set to release his tenth album ‘Undefeated’ on May 3rd
Pre-order here: