By: Aidan Clucas
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Frank Turner’s Mittens EP follows on from a remarkably successful year for the man. His career has taken a traditional turn, from using various sofas to recover from extensive tours of small venues, to playing halls on a much grander scale. Mittens is another step in that direction, and also displays Turner’s, already known, genre-spanning talents.
The EP opens with the title track ‘Mittens’, for which a music video was also released embracing Turner’s obsession with Elvis Presley. The song is reasonably hard-hitting considering its nominally soft music, the angsty vocals screaming verses of love is a great combination. ‘Least of All, Young Caroline’, incorporates a more jovial, bouncy rhythm, than its predecessor, made quicker by its two minute running time. The presentation of the songs, however, give it that extra meaty edge, which can go amiss in this genre.
‘Little Aphrodite’, situated in the dead centre, begins as a piano driven ballad. Whilst Turner doesn’t display a broad range, nor in his vocal dynamics (on this song), he still showcases his wonderful talent when presenting his songs. Perhaps his voice excels due to its normality, which in turn makes it extraordinary. The song itself would be a welcome addition for live participants, and it will likely be a hit with the fan-base.
‘Cleopatra in Brooklyn’ is possibly the only real lull on the EP. Perhaps a bit too traditional, but it does offer something more interesting during the break when Turner changes the feel of the song, adopting a lower voice and more instrumental fluency.
‘The Armadillo’ closes the album in a way unsurprisingly for albums of this ilk; a slow reflection musically on the rest of the album, stripping away the punk of the first two, and the sing-a-long ballad of three and four, instead harkening back to the origins of Turner’s music, and ballad music in general.
Mittens EP is the love-song of a singer-songwriter, and in this piece it is plain to see that Turner’s soul, and dreams, rest in the creation of music. Within this EP is only a small part of his emotion, sure, but with a simplistic style he can captivate many and create small portions of music that possess more personality than any contemporary singer-songwriter in the limelight today. Whilst not his strongest effort, it is stable, and has enough to maintain the momentum of his career, as well as increase his repertoire live.