Franz Ferdinand

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

Written by: AP on 29/01/2009 14:38:33

Despite the fact that their rise to success was so similar to that of other homegrown britpop and indie rock bands, hyped as the next big thing and subsequently topping the charts, Franz Ferdinand is one among many. One album after the other, the Scotsmen enjoyed consistent success, avoiding the stigma of British bands: the sudden rise to stardom and the even more sudden fall to oblivion in the hands of a merciless press corps and the head-nodding public which recycles their every forecast and opinion. The something happened.

Conceived as early as 2005, the follow-up to the hit-single-riddled "You Could Have It So Much Better", "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand" was a work in progress for three years amid label disputes. But rather than sit idle and wait, the band began exploring new influences in the studio, experimenting with electro, retro garage and even Afrobeat sounds in their quest to bring about something of an evolution, the fate of many of their peers undoubtedly in mind. The result is the band's boldest move to date: an attempt at a full-on disco record. As such, many readers might wonder what place it has on this website, but rest assured, even though this record is sure to dictate playlists on mainstream dance floors for some time, it has a firm foundation in the quirky, playful rock to which Franz Ferdinand has always subscribed. But it really is the foundation, not the focus. It's the disco scenery that dominates the soundscape of this album, and hardly a moment passes which does not tempt to showing off the latest dance moves. It's dance music for us fans of rock.

The album begins with a barrage of straightforward, if catchy and genuinely enjoyable electro tracks; most of which offer little to differentiate one from the other, but the album opener, "Ulysses" is worth a mention. Fans of Veto will wet their pants at the sound of this sucker. "Lucid Dreams" is clearly intended as the centerpiece of the album; a stunning eight-minute progressive epic that wraps up what this band stood, stands, and will stand for in the future. It's rock, it's electro, and it's retro. It combines the aforementioned African traditional sounds with the more traditional Franz Ferdinand sounds and gives it a disco-wash, almost to the extent that the track threatens to spin off in a dozen different directions, the persistent rhythm of Paul Thomson's drumming the only point of reference. Then comes the comedown with "Dream Again" and the acoustic "Katherine Kiss Me" (which bears a close resemblance to the music of one Adam Green by the way; very cool), a tender and humorous satire of love songs.

"Tonight: Franz Ferdinand" succeeds in everything it pursues, albeit that some variation in the front-end could have done wonders. It's almost as though the album was written for the live shows and the night clubs, and as such it nears the perfect. Musically it's not the pinnacle of creativity, but it is damn inventive and certainly a welcome change to the stagnating, instantly forgettable debacles that most British bands beginning with the article the are.


Download: Ulysses, Send Him Away, Lucid Dreams, Katherine Kiss Me

For the fans of: Kaiser Chiefs, Modest Mouse, Veto

Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.01.2009

Domino Recording Co

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