Frank Turner’s popularity seems to be in a state of exponential growth. Having blown the roof off Wembley Arena, London last year, he is now set for a full UK arena tour, including a date at the 02 Arena in London on the 12th of February, a capacity increase of 7,500. Two days before, Turner will release his Polaroid Picture EP, the title track being lifted from his 2013 release Tape Deck Heart. This is the fifth track on the LP to be released separately from it, more than any other previous Turner album. Tape Deck Heart was one of On Record’s favorites from last year, appearing in the feature ‘Best of 2013: Albums of the Year (Part 1)’ but does the Polaroid Picture EP‘s additional tracks make it something worth getting on top of the album?
Well, ‘Polaroid Picture’ is a solid enough single, but not really a standout track on LP. It contains stripped back acoustic sections and a full backing band chorus, with typical misty-eyed lyrics with plenty of repetition to make for some good sing-along parts for even the casual fans, so it serves as a good advert for what Turner is all about.
Tracks two through four are all covers. The first is a studio-recorded version of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Modern Leper’, slightly more stripped back than the original. Track three is a live version of ‘Plea from a Cat Named Virtue’, originally by Canadian indie rock four-piece The Weakerthans. The final cover is ‘Who’s Got a Match?’ by Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, making its second appearance in Turner’s repertoire, the first being part of the Losing Days EP. None of these tracks particularly grab the ear, and are fairly throw away, though of the three, ‘Plea from a Cat Named Virtue’ does stand out by having the full band and the rawness of a live show.
The final track is a new Turner original entitled ‘Sweet Albion Blues’. More a well recorded demo than a fully-fledged track, this pacey, patriotic number is far more enjoyable than those that precede it. It’s a shame this track didn’t make it into the album, as it would go down well live with a full band arrangement.
The EP is nice, but if you have Tape Deck Heart, it is probably worth skipping if you can get hold of ‘Sweet Albion Blues’ separately, unless you are a big Turner fan. This is just an EP too far, stretching Turner’s material a little too thinly.