I know I said I would do a couple other 2008 reviews, but my upcoming Coachella piece was enough, so silence yourself and read ahead.
It seems like it’s hard to find a good dance rock band these days, even for someone who lives so close to Los Angeles and Hollywood. I may not go to Club Moscow on Wednesdays or whatever, but it still shouldn’t be this hard to find something of quality to listen to. However, I still keep an eye out on an old favorite of mine, and this year, they delivered again. I’m of course talking about the latest from the boys from Glasgow, Scotland; Franz Ferdinand.
I know you’ve heard of them before, probably the hit Take Me Out from their self titled album back in 2004. Or maybe the huge club hit, that I still hear when I go out, Auf Achse from that same album. Lil Wayne sampled their song This Fire on the mix tape The Drought is Over Part 4 as well. But enough about all that nonsense, this review is on the bands 3rd studio album, entitled Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.
To give you a little history, as I always do, the band is from Glasgow, Scotland. The band is named after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, who’s assassination pretty much made World War I pop off back in 1914. Their second single, Take Me Out, landed at number 3 on the British charts, which in turn earned them the same rank on the self titled album in 2005. The video for the song (which is absolutely badass by the way) also received high praise and acclaim for its strange Russian constructivist visual scheme.
The front man for Franz Ferdinand is Alex Kapranos, who also plays the lead guitar. Backing him up on vocals and guitar is Nick McCarthy, who also jumps on the keyboards from time to time. Bass guitar duty is done by Bob Hardy, with Paul Thomson on the drums and backing vocals. All four members were working on different bands before this bands inception, but created Franz in 2002. After two chart topping albums released two years in a row, then band took a break to spend some time creating their latest work of art. I feel like the wait was well worth it. Let’s talk about it.
First, this is the kind of band that you love because you can pick it up so easily and enjoy it, without having to know the lyrics to make it entertaining. Because its dance rock, you can simply do just that, without worrying about the guy next to you in his Jetta trying to talk shit. The overall feel of the album for me is that it makes me want to strut down the street. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like this is the perfect type of music to make music videos to.
For instance, the first track, Ulysses has a simple but addictive beat, and when Alex comes in, you here him humming before the verse starts; in a way that lets you know that he is also feeling the groove of his own work.
The second track, Turn It On, feels to me like it would fit perfect in a Need for Speed or Midnight Club title, but I’m sad to report that the song is nowhere to be found in the videogame world. People who have played either series will get what I mean, so stop shaking your head at me. I’m making sense.
While track 6, Bite Hard, might be a little too fast to dance to, the energy in the instrumentals make it a key track on the album. With a particular nod to the synth used throughout the track.
Being a bass player, the funky licks on track 7, What She Came For, made this one of my favorites. This track felt a little more like something you would have heard on one of the bands previous albums; which is not a bad thing, and more of a welcome nostalgia.
Track 8, Live Alone, is one of the tracks that I believe truly defined the feel that the band was looking for. The synth and bass, and drums are heavy on this one, making it a shoe in for a sexy track for the club DJ’s. The chorus is catchy and easy (too many jokes I could make here), letting you sing along the second time around when the chorus hits.
My favorite track this time around though, is track 10 Lucid Dreams; for a few reasons. First, the instrumentals do a glorious job of paint the scene to match the song’s name. Second, the first 40 seconds of the song seems to have an almost an old western vibe to it, which I didn’t expect. After that, the beat kicks off, which is very club worthy. At about 4:47, the beat drops away and there is a crazy digital solo that made me get up and shuffle around the room in a funky manner. This leads us to the end of the track on a lighter note, which again leads to the quieter tracks Dream Again, and Katherine Kiss Me.
To bring it home, I think that Franz Ferdinand went in the right direction. Critics are saying that this is their best album yet, and Alex himself even says that this album is the dance album they have wanted to make for a long time. It doesn’t feel rushed, and doesn’t overstay its welcome while you listen to it. Add this one to your collection if you want something funky to bump at parties. Expect to hear a few of these tracks in the scene clubs all around Los Angeles. Franz Ferdinand brought us another album with hits that we can put on when we want to get groovy. Next time you are thinking about what to listen to in the evening to get the blood going, make the choice, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.
Until next time,