Thursday, January 15

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

. Thursday, January 15

Originally published on Gigwise

Three and a half years after their second album Franz Ferdinand return to the music scene. The question is have we missed them? Or even noticed they had gone?

As with all major releases the gossip, hype and rumour mill have been in overdrive regarding ‘Tonight:’ First of all was Xenomania’s involvement in the project. Many saw Brian Higgins glossy pop production as a perfect accompaniment to Franz Ferdinand’s glam choruses and rapidly salivated at the prospect of the collaboration. Second was the talk of the Afro-Beat direction. During a 2008 interview at the height of Vampire Weekends success Alex Kapranos spoke of a desire to take the third album in a similar direction and followed this claim up by taking part in Damon Albarn’s African Express showcase in Liverpool. Finally the rumour that Franz had ditched the guitars altogether in favour of synthesizers in order to make a record entirely different from anything they had made before.

Now Tonight: Franz Ferdinand has materialised we can see how much of these whispers made it onto the record. First of all it was well documented that the sessions with Xenomania did not achieve the desired results and all the recordings were subsequently ditched. What those tracks sound like will no doubt be one of music’s great mysteries. The Afro-Beat rumours are also a fallacy with little to no hints of anything outside of Berlin influencing the album. Guitars however do play a much smaller role in this record than either of the two previous Franz albums creating a new and exciting dynamic for the listener and for when the band play the album live.

Alex Kapranos described 2005’s ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’ as like ‘a teenager having sex’ i.e. too fast and rushed. The bpm on ‘Tonight:’ has certainly been lowered down from a rapid thrashing to a slinky groove creating a more streamlined and cohesive listen than ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’ which at times sounded like a mad man trying to knock down the asylum door. ‘Ulysses’, the first single from the album, is a good indicator of the new direction Franz Ferdinand are heading in with its chanting chorus and walls of buzzing electric feedback. Franz Ferdinand’s albums have always sounded like a collection of singles and ‘Tonight:’ is no different with a succession of dance floor friendly classic pop songs. For example, ‘Bite Hard’ and ‘Turn It On’ are as memorable as say ‘Dark Of The Matinee’ or ‘Michael’ and ‘Twighlight Omens’ and ‘What She Came For’ set to fit firmly in Franz Fans hearts. The change in sound is not a reinvention or a rapid shift as much as it’s a natural progression of the bands sound. To these ears Franz Ferdinand have always had more than one eye on the dance floor and Alex Kapranos even said when the band first formed that their manifesto was to ‘make pretty girls dance’. This desire will certainly reach full fruition with songs like ‘Can’t Stop Feeling’ and the magnificent album highlight ‘Lucid Dreams’- a Kraftwerk inspired techno breakdown that transports the listener to another realm.

Critics may decry a lack of anything as immediate as ‘Take Me Out’ or ‘Do You Wanna’ but the songs on ‘Tonight:’ are more akin to earlier Franz off cuts such as ‘L.Wells’ and ‘Bang Bang’ aided by a bigger, more accomplished sound. Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is the sound of an assured and timeless band and looks set to soundtrack many a great night.





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