Frank Turner, Last Minutes and Lost Evenings (Epitaph)

Having released his first full-length solo album just five years ago, it may seem a little soon for a Frank Turner best-of compilation. But as the British folk/punk (or is that punk/folk?) singer-songwriter tries to transfer his UK success to the states, its actually a smart move and an impressive nod to an already burgeoning body of work.

Last Minutes and Lost Evenings may not hold together as well as his albums of original material notably last years England Keep My Bones, a stellar, foul-mouthed love letter to his home country. But its an excellent primer for those unfamiliar with Turners tough, impassioned shout-outs to rock n roll salvation and the healing power of good, old-fashioned camaraderie.

Turners at his most compelling and funniest when investigating his attempts to hang on to the stupidity of youth while being inextricably pulled toward respectability. The Real Damage tells his story of waking up in a strange house surrounded by sleeping folks that I didnt know, resulting in a walk of shame that makes him question his current lifestyle choices. On the appropriately titled Reasons Not To Be An Idiot, meanwhile, Turner argues in favor of letting down your guard in search of more meaningful connections, admitting all the while that Im not as awesome as this song makes out.

The songs from Turners last two albums stand out, particularly Try This At Home and I Still Believe, two of the best paeans to simple rock n roll salvation to come along this century. But all of Turners full-throated shout-outs to friends, family, country, music and everything else that makes life worth living are more dynamic and clearly heartfelt than most of what passes for modern rock music. In short, if you still dont know Turner, you should and this disc, complete with a companion DVD of him belting the songs live, is a great place to start.

Peter Chianca blogs for Gatehouse Medias Blogness on the Edge of Town and is author of Glory Days: Springsteens Greatest Albums. Email him at