There’s truly nothing like COVID-themed songs. Remember that Dave Grohl x Mick Jagger collaboration “Eazy Sleazy,” or “Lockdown Blues” by Iceage? It seems like musicians can either absolutely ignore the pandemic or go straight into it… and the latter is what Frank Turner has done with “The Gathering.” It features Jason Isbell and Muse’s Dom Howard, though I don’t really hear them on the track.
The twangy rock sound is great, and his vocals are enthusiastic, accented, and pretty much indistinguishable from that dude from IDLES. As for what that voice is actually saying: “We’ve been huddled in our houses for however many days like survivors/ And we’ve been dutifully paying our dues and paying heed to our advisors/ But we’re pent up and we’re pissed off and we’re perilously close to the precipice.” I don’t really know who this “we” is. I’m not really that pissed off.
You could be forgiven for assuming “The Gathering” is an anti-quarantine anthem, which would be a weird look for Jason Isbell. According to Turner, it’s not a protest song but rather one anticipating the return of live music after the pandemic. “It’s about that moment when you come together in a room full of people, and you lean on a stranger and sing along with the chorus and get the words wrong,” he explains in a press release.
Listen to “The Gathering” below.
Turner has some outdoor “gatherings” coming up this summer in the UK. He says will comply with whatever COVID restrictions are in place in each local area.