HAMPSHIRE folk punk star Frank Turner has announced a special homecoming date to celebrate the release of his seventh studio album this spring.

Tickets for the gig at Southampton’s O2 Guildhall on May 1 go on sale on Friday, while Be More Kind will be released three days after the city date.

Following the release of Songbook, a career-spanning retrospective with reworked versions of tracks from across the past decade, Be More Kind represents a thematic change. It’s a record that combines the political and personal with his trademark intricate folk and punk.

Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, were on tour in the USA in 2016 “when the world decided to go collectively nuts” and the songs that make up Be More Kind started to come together.

“Somewhere in the record, there’s a convergence of the ideas of personal and political, which is a central theme of the album,” Turner says. One of the driving themes of the album is empathy, even for your enemy. “You should at least be able to inhabit the mental universe of the people you disagree with. If you can’t do that, then how do you communicate with people other than through force of arms, which is something we all agree is a bad idea.”

His last two records, 2013’s Tape Deck Heart and 2015’s Positive Songs For Negative People, dealt with the fallout from a break-up. Now happily in a relationship and living with his partner and their cat, he again set his sights on the bigger picture.

The Be More Kind World Tour will begin in April, with its first leg playing to over 200,000 people across the UK, USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, taking them through to Christmas.

Tickets from FrankTurner.lnk.to/Tour