Frank Turner - Live In Newcastle

Live albums are a bit of a strange concept when you think about it. It’s not new material, the recording quality is lower than studio recordings and then there’s added audience noise to take away from the music.

Despite all this, live albums are great!

They’re like a greatest hits and capture the energy of a live show that can sometimes get lost in studio recordings. Now more than ever live albums are needed to fill the enormous void created by the coronavirus preventing gigs and festivals going ahead.

Frank Turner has released a handful of live albums throughout his career, you might be asking why release another?

What makes this album unique is the re-imagined versions of fan favourite tracks as well as the stories behind each song that Turner told to introduce each song.Opening track ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ makes for a great set opener and sets the scene. The percussive build-up and picked guitar part are sonically beautiful and the natural venue reverb create a sense of warmth and intimacy often found in a live environment. This track has featured on all of Turner’s previous live albums and had certainly become stale, but this is a refreshing take on an old song that was long overdue a shake up live.

Turner’s narrative was surprisingly enjoyable too, where it could have been a momentum killer it added depth and heart to the songs not previously discovered. Turner jokes about his songs focussing on topics such as heartbreak, addiction and death, but tells the stories with an honest and personal approach that really gives the listener a new perspective on the songs that wouldn’t otherwise be found on a studio record.

The stripped-back rendition of ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ hasn’t got the uplifting feel of the original version, but features sombre harmonies that are a welcome addition. On the flip side, the uptempo take on ‘Love 40 Down’ is well received given that ‘re-imagined’ often just means an acoustic cover.

Where this album could’ve been a bog standard live album pulled from archive, the re-imagined songs and stories offer something new for fans despite not featuring any songs that haven’t been heard previously.

Available on all platforms from April 24th

Ryan B