The English troubadour has been busy in the studio and will release Be More Kind on 4 May via Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records.
Frank Turner has announced details of his forthcoming seventh studio album – Be More Kind. Months after the release of Songbook, a career-spanning retrospective which also saw reworked versions of tracks from across the past decade, Be More Kind represents a thematic and sonic line in the sand for the 36-year-old.
Be More Kind has been produced by Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block, formerly of psychedelic-rock Texans White Denim, and Florence And The Machine and Halsey collaborator Charlie Hugall. “I wanted to try and get out of my comfort zone and do something different,” says Turner.
The first track to be released from Be More Kind is 1933, a clattering, state-of-the-nation anthem. Furious and direct, it’s inspired by articles Turner saw that suggested the alt-right was punk rock. “That filled me with a mixture of incredulity and anger,” says Turner. “The idea that Breitbart or Steve Bannon think they have anything to do with punk rock makes me extremely angry.” The other theme in the track is summed up by the line, “If I was one of the greatest generation/I’d be pissed/I’d be screaming at my grandkids/that we already did this.” “These ideas are surfacing again that collectively as a species we’ve already shot down,” says Turner.
Turner was halfway through writing a very different sort of album, a concept record about women from the historical record who had been ignored, when he was reading a collection of Clive James’ poetry and one particular line compelled him to re-think his direction. It was from a poem called Leçons Des Ténèbres: “I should have been more kind. It is my fate. To find this out, but find it out too late.” “It devastated me the first time I read it,” he says. “A lot of older, wiser people tend to say things like that, that the things that come out in the wash at the end of a human life are the way you treated the people around you. In the modern world, that’s a lesson that all of us, myself included could do to learn.”
Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, were on tour in the USA in 2016 “when the world decided to go collectively nuts” and the songs that make up Be More Kind started to come together.
“Somewhere in the record, there’s a convergence of the ideas of personal and political, which is a central theme of the album,” Turner says. One of the driving themes of the album is empathy, even for your enemy. “You should at least be able to inhabit the mental universe of the people you disagree with. If you can’t do that, then how do you communicate with people other than through force of arms, which is something we all agree is a bad idea.”
Here are those UK dates:
13 April – Academy, Manchester
20 April – The Garage, Aberdeen
21 April – Liquid Room, Edinburgh
22 April – O2 Academy, Newcastle
24 April – O2 Academy, Sheffield
25 April – O2 Academy, Liverpool
27 April – O2 Academy, Bristol
28 April – Great Hall, Exeter Uni
30 April – Corn Exchange, Cambridge
1 May – Guildhall, Southampton
2 May – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
4 May – O2 Academy, Leicester
5 May – O2 Academy, Oxford
8 May – City Hall, Hull
9 May – UEA, Norwich
Tickets for the tour go on sale on Friday 2 Feb at 10am.