It’s just over a year since Frank Turner’s debut album ‘Sleep Is For The Week’ hit record stores. Ahead of its release, Frank gave Room Thirteen a track-by-track guide to the album, and now, with number two less than a month away, he’s done the honours again.

‘Love, Ire and Song’ was recorded in the latter part of 2007, with sessions happening either side of the US tour. Frank returned to the valley where he grew up, and recorded the album in a converted barn.

When we spoke to him during the recording process he told us: “I don't think
I need to progress so far after one solo album; I'm just aiming for better songs and a better sound. Two different themes run through this album, distance and optimism. I've been far away from my loved ones, touring more than ever, but I'm also more confident in my worldview. And angry; definitely more angry.”

So…now that the record is finished, the first single has been released to radio, the video is done and the tour is booked, what are we getting from ‘Love, Ire and Song’?

Frank Turner’s thoughts are below:

After I finish writing an album, I often feel like a maniac at the end of a killing spree - I can see all this carnage around me, and it was obviously me who did it, but I can't for the life of me remember how. So this batch of songs, my second record, is much like the others - I can remember these songs not being written, and now they are, but the details of how I got from one stage to another are a little hazy. Nevertheless, let's have a go.

Most of these songs started coming together on the road - no surprise really, seeing as I've been on tour pretty much non-stop since finishing the last album. They were then tweaked on days off, in strange bedrooms and occasionally in practice rooms or at soundchecks with my band (a refreshing experience) and turned into songs. Songs such as:

1. ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’

The title is a reference to a poem by T S Eliot. This song is a statement of intent, kind of my version of ‘Thunder Road’ - but rather than being an invitation to escape it's a statement of defiance. I guess it's an anthem to being overlooked, and reveling in the fact that we were never looking for that kind of approval in the first place. It names a lot of my friends personally. It's a perfect album (and set) opener, and runs the gamut instrumentally, from solo to uber-orchestrated supernova.

2. ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot’

Probably the oldest song on the album, and a pretty obvious single. Can you tell that I like the Lemonheads? The title emerged from playing this out on tour last year, and my attempts to explain what it was about, lyrically. It's inspired by a friend of mine's ex girlfriend, who shall remain nameless, but was essentially a pillock. I often think that if everyone (myself included) just calmed down, stopped being so self-important, and just laughed at themselves a little more, the world would be a better place.

3. ‘Photosynthesis’

This is the most trad-country number on the album, and it was a lot of fun laying down accordions, fiddles and mandolins on this one. It's got a really nice organic feel. Lyrically it's about how everyone can achieve something, can do something fulfilling and creative with their lives, if they just bother to apply themselves. A lot of people are unhappy and could do something about it, but prefer to moan.

4. ‘Substitute’

Yes, I know there's a song by The Who with the same name. Sue me. This was actually a kind of throwaway little idea that was salvaged by the producing skills of Ben Lloyd - i.e. he told me to stop being a twat and work on it. It's a neat little lament, again, pretty trad folk / country.

5. ‘Better Half’

This is the first song on which I've been recorded playing piano, and it's also the first song I've written with piano as the lead instrument, which was an interesting proposition musically. I also wanted a song with a lot more space in some parts, so it's quite sparse. It sort of started life sounding too much like Joe Cocker's take on ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ but hopefully that got knocked on the head. It ended up being kind of epic, which was unexpected, but then that's the fun of recording I suppose.

6. ‘Love, Ire & Song’

This is the title track of the album and one of my favourites. After ‘Sleep’ I felt I needed to restate my politics a little, talk about how I'm still angry about a lot of things... And this was the result of that little idea. I'm really pleased with the lyrics, they feel more like the kind of thing I was writing towards the end of Million Dead, which is no bad thing. This song has a Pogues, Irish feel to it musically, and hopefully a whole lot of spit and bile. The title refers to the things I think you need in life to be happy, the perfect ingredients. Why "ire” (instead of, say "anger")? Because I feel like it.

7. ‘Imperfect Tense’

A nigh-on punk song! Who'd of thought.. Well, not really punk as such, more power pop, more Lemonheads again, but still, a song with some kick. Put it this way: Nigel (drummer) was exhausted after doing about 4 takes of this song in the studio, which is unprecedented! I have a neat little acoustic version of this as well, but the r-o-c-k won out for the album. Generally speaking I wanted to not talk about drugs and getting wrecked with this record, but it showed up once. Such is life. A song about trying to get better, trying to change. Oh, and the title is an arcane pun for anyone who studied classical languages at school. I am THAT cool.

8. ‘To Take You Home’

This is a very English-sounding folk song, which started as a little idea in DADGAD tuning (something I don't usually use) and morphed into a song in the studio. I'm hugely pleased with it musically and arrangement-wise - we even constructed some celtic percussion using a floor tom and a set of bells. However, it's a little sticky lyrically, in that I wrote it about the girl I was seeing at the time, who used the occasion of the end of recording to dump me. So, it's a little weird for me now, that's my own look out for ignoring my own warnings in ‘Romantic Fatigue’, hahaha.

9. ‘Long Live The Queen’

A very intense and personal song, and one I worked on as hard as I could to get it right. A good, good friend of mine, Lexy, died in September last year at the end of a long and painful battle with cancer. I wrote this song in tribute to my friend, the most unhinged party girl I ever knew, who was also the kindest soul and the best listener, the best mother and the best friend. There's not much more I can say really.

10. ‘A Love Worth Keeping’

I never really wanted to write, finish or record this song, but Ben dragged me every step of the way and it's ended up as one of my favourites on the album. It's based around a strange eastern riff that I had mixed feelings about, but after some cajoling had worked into something I liked. The next problem was lyrics - it took me ages to get the right subject to match the musical mood, but after some arguments with my ex and some long country walks in the fresh air, it came together two days before the end of the session, and it all worked out beautifully. This might, um, surprise people a little, musically.

11. ‘St Christopher Is Coming Home’

The other oldest song on the album. I've played this out live a fair bit, and it's had about 27 different titles, but I'm settled now on this. A simple ode to the people I miss when I'm away. We got everyone who came into the studio to sing along with the ending, thereby ending up with about 50 people on the album at once, and it sounds perfect, complete with Bryn from the Holloways cackling like a goon.

12. ‘Jet Lag’

The original of this song was a fast, rocking number, and we started recording it as such. But we got stuck halfway through and it just wasn't happening. So of a drunken evening in the studio, I sat at the old piano we had (made in 1827!) and started playing with a stripped down version of the song. Ben had the presence of mind to get some microphones up, and after an evening of tinkering we ended up with this version. In the end the electric version came good too, but there's something special about this almost live take - it has a profound sadness and sense of space to it that felt perfect for closing the album. It's a song about distance and change and it seemed to take the subjects of all the other songs and wrap them up neatly.

‘Love, Ire and Song’ is released on March 31 through Xtra Mile. You can hear the first single and watch the video

His UK tour begins at the end of March, dates
are listed here.