Billed as a set of rarities and standards, the 15-track Last Minutes and Lost Evenings
is designed as a sort of Frank Turner primer for uninitiated North American audiences. The English punk rocker turned folk-punker (he used to play in the London-based hardcore outfit Million Dead), who counts Johnny Cash
, Billy Bragg
, the Beatles
, and the Boss
as influences, has been quietly establishing himself as a voice of the people since his 2007 debut, Sleep Is for the Week
, balancing the working class pragmatism of Ewan MacColl
and Woody Guthrie
with the rowdy, anti-establishment swagger of Against Me!
and Joe Strummer
. Lyrically sharp, musically simple, yet sound and always one verse away from a pint-swinging chorus, Turner should have little trouble infiltrating the Dropkick Murphys
crowd, especially with rousing blue-collar anthems like "Sons of Liberty," "I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous," and "I Still Believe," and his obvious love of American country and folk music, best exemplified by full-band, open-highway rovers like "The Road," while "Nashville Tennessee" helps to soften some of the more region-specific vernacular. Hand-picked by the artist, the songs on Last Minutes and Lost Evenings
ebb and flow with grit and grace. That said, Turner garnered some of his best reviews with 2011's excellent England Keep My Bones
(the riveting "One Foot Before the Other" seamlessly integrates his hardcore punk past into his more rustic present), but only the aforementioned "I Still Believe" was chosen to represent. It's hardly a deal breaker, though, as the target audience for the compilation will be oblivious to any deficiencies that would otherwise be obvious to seasoned fans, many of whom will be picking up Last Minutes and Lost Evenings
purely for the bundled DVD of Turner's magnificent headlining performance at Wembley Arena.