It's been a busy year for Frank Turner, after playing hundreds of gigs up and down the country, trips over to Europe, radio sessions, handing out shopping baskets full of demo CDs and finally releasing a well received official EP release; Frank is now ready to take on all comers in the New Year with the release of his debut solo album.

We thought it only right that we should wet your appetite by asking Frank to do a song by song rundown of the album just for you lucky people:

THE REAL DAMAGE
This is one of my better known songs, and it has been released before, both on demos and on a split 7" with Reuben. But I figured that it needed to be on the album, and it's a new (better) recording. I was keen to kick things off with a pretty stripped down acoustic song, just to set the mood and to stay true to what I've been doing on the road for the past year.

VITAL SIGNS
Of course, I'm not just sticking with the totally solo format, and so I wanted to have something fuller for the second song. This is a neat little country rock song, in the vein of the Screaming Trees or some such. The lyrics are about trying to remember what's important in life for me it's experience, and having a good time, over and above more conventional notions of security or legacy. The key line is "mark no grave". This is also going to be the first single off the album.

ROMANTIC FATIGUE
Another song that was on old demos, but again rerecorded properly, and it sounds fantastic, the lovely Nigel Powell did an ace job with both the drums and the organ parts on this. A tongue in cheek tune about trying to get laid by writing songs for girls, and how it inevitably backfires. It'll probably be a single sometime next year.

A DECENT CUP OF TEA
We recorded this in one take with one microphone on me and a guitar with rusty old strings on it, just trying to get a lo-fi, 4am feel going on. I think it came out really well. And shock horror it's kind of a love song.

FATHER'S DAY
Can you tell that I love the Counting Crows? More country-ish rock, with a big old sing-a-long at the end, something that seems to have featured quite a lot on the album. The lyrics are probably the most intensely personal on the album, and I still wrestle with them to some extent. My family's pretty fucked up right now. It was hard playing this one to my sisters and my mother for the first time. This is also the first track to feature Rachael on the fiddle, ace as ever.

WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA
A solo version of this has been floating around the internet for some time. It's a song I was never sure about when I first finished it, but various people encouraged me to keep working on it, and now I've finally got a version that completely rules. This is mainly down to the string arrangements, which were very much Ben's (Lloyd, producer) baby. Rachael stunned us with her ability to rock the klesma style, and Jo (Silverston, cello) filled out the bottom end nicely. It sounds kind of epic now. We even considered having some plate smashing action on it to complete the orthodox wedding feel, but eventually decided against (probably for the best). It's a song about an ex, enough said.

MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE
This is another tune that I've been tinkering with for a long time, and only recently got it right. It's a brooding, Neil Young-esque tune about the downside of sex and drugs. Kind of the flipside of Vital Signs I suppose, haha. It's the end of the first half of the album.

BACK IN THE DAY
I wasn't sure if it was going to work out, having a pretty straight up Bluegrass song on the record, but actually it totally did. I bought a banjo during the sessions, and it obviously had to go onto this track (Ben had to stop me putting it on every single other one too!). The lyrics are about the music scene I grew up with, London HC in the late 1990's. It was a very crucial, formative time for me, and it still informs everything I do in my music career. And I thought that bluegrass was the perfect way to tackle it.

ONCE WE WERE ANARCHISTS
This is the most political song on the album, it takes a lot from The Levellers both lyrically and musically. I had a reputation for political spiel in Million Dead, and on the one hand I didn't want to get stuck in that rut, but I also wanted to have something along those lines on the record. So I compromised with a song about how "The times they aren't a-changing, England's still shit and it's still raining".

WISDOM TEETH
An old song, which was always meant to go like this, with a bit of bass, cello, banjo, and even a Casio keyboard on "alpine horn" setting. A song about telling the truth (or not).

THE LADIES OF LONDON TOWN
The most "rock" song on the record. I was trying to figure out who it was reminding me, and Ben laughed and said it sounded like Million Dead. Then he said "Supergrass" too, which was a little confusing... It's about going clubbing in London, and the strange breed of people who inhabit those places but never seem to emerge in the day. Jamie Lenman from Reuben came in a contributed some ace backing vocals as well.

MUST TRY HARDER
A slow, restrained song about not living up to the standards that you set yourself. I think I'm quite exacting on myself, in terms of expectations. So that's what that's about. Starts slow and builds, using a full choral effect at the end, something that I first tried out on a song called "To Whom It May Concern" by Million Dead. This one also features my mum in the choir.

THE BALLAD OF ME AND MY FRIENDS
We recorded this live at the Barfly back in August. The response from the crowd was just amazing, over and above what I was expecting. We did a little bit of mixing but pretty much left it as it is, pretty raw and live. I think it's a great way to finish the record, not too polished, with a sense of camaraderie, just like the lyrics themselves.

Frank is currently back out on the road (where else?) with the album scheduled for release on January 8th.