The man in perpetual musical motion, Frank Turner, keeps his momentum going. A reunion with his ‘buddy’ Jon Snodgrass and a very welcome sequel. Here’s our thoughts; like the album, short and sweet.
Release date: 13th November 2020
Label: Xtra Mile Recordings
Format: DL / CD / vinyl
“Do you wanna do another ten song album that we write today?“
Ten years ago Frank Turner and Jon Snodgrass recorded Buddies – an album that became a cult favourite among fans. This is the most welcome follow up. Remotely recorded, as you do, Buddies II finds Frank and Jon linking up and knocking out some songs that make up a new record.
The album sees them recruit other buddies including Todd Beene on pedal steel and Stephen Egerton on drums. The album touches on themes such as Jon having children, their travels across the U.S., our place on the planet and much more. The result is a fun and poignant half-hour or so. Part podcast, part song, it’s two mates hanging out and we get to peer through the window (or listen on coloured vinyl).
Bizarre and irreverent interludes of chat and music add to the patched-up feel as the musical portion contains upbeat and uptempo punky-country-breathlessly delivered tunes. And calls of “Oh dude…”
A jiving full band of sorts with simulated horns on the title track welcomes us to Buddies II and the start of the little and we’re into a flow of chat and music. The pair coming all over wacky R.E.M on Retractions, swapping vocal lines and exuding the sort of vibrant energy you’d encounter at an FT show.
We get Jon cracking on with S-Bar driven by a cheesy Casio electronic beat and a bit of an audio commentary from Frank and a tribute to Stephen the drummer in a hefty slab of wild guitar pop punk. And then The Earth Is Flat is pure Beans On Toast.
The shift of direction to piano and synth washes on MacBeth is accompanied by a Q:”What key should this be in?” A: “Erm, this key…” before Frank disturbs the peace with a burst of Bad Times, Good Vibes. Not quite in the thrash direction of his Mongol Horde days, especially as it diverts to Jon’s pedal steel take. A musical outpouring that’s repeated on the Hold Me Homie that could easily become one of Frank’s anthemic crowd-pleasers.
A couple of moments extend the general brevity of much of the musical aspects; in fact, as time moves on, the chat takes over with musings on the age of a dog and the inevitable musical moment – “it’s hard to gauge, the age, of a dog”.
There won’t be too many better ways to take a break from the routine of your everyday existence. Great fun. Watch out in 2030 for Buddies III: Buddies At Sea…maybe not with the kazoo…