Franz Ferdinand
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand


3.5
great

Review

by Ali CONTRIBUTOR (129 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2009 | 27 replies | 4,319 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It probably won't have the same impact as their first two albums, but Franz Ferdinand's comeback is still an engaging listen.

It’s hard to believe that nearly four years have passed since we last heard from Franz Ferdinand. When you consider all that has happened since their last release however, this gap may seem somewhat short. The Scots exploded onto the scene with the tremendous Take Me Out in 2004, which was followed by a string of other successful singles and an excellent self-titled debut album. The timing of their breakthrough was perfect. Not since the days of Britpop had the UK had any decent guitar bands, having to make do with American imports such as The Strokes and The White Stripes instead. Franz Ferdinand kept their momentum going with the quick release of a second album, You Could Have It So Much Better the following year. Although it didn’t quite match their debut, it was another excellent album, which like its predecessor produced a string of hit singles, most notably the irresistible Do You Want To.

This initial momentum burned out however, meaning that we have had to wait nearly four years for a follow-up. Much has changed in this time, with a new line of British indie bands following in Franz Ferdinand’s footsteps in gaining chart success and critical acclaim. In this time, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight and most notably Arctic Monkeys have challenged if not taken Franz Ferdinand’s throne as the UK’s best loved modern indie band. But, with the sales of some of their younger competitors gradually falling, as well as the time of the year, with very few high profile albums surfacing so early in the calendar, this seems like a good time for Franz Ferdinand to return.

The build-up and recording of their third album was by no means a smooth affair. The band experimented with various new musical directions, including African and reggae, and went through a number of producers, most notably the Xenophobia group, who are behind pop sensations such as Girls Aloud and the Sugababes. Eventually they settled on a style and abandoned the collaboration, instead opting for Dan Carey. The album that has resulted, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is, according to Alex Kapranos loosely based on the concept of a wild night out, unlike the first two, which were designed to make girls dance and cry. Rumors have been circulating that the album is a huge step away from their first two, with guitars being largely replaced by synths, and a far poppier writing style.

Any fears old fans may have of the album being a complete departure from the bands old sound however, are instantly eradicated by the first song, lead single Ulysses. Simply put, this is just classic Franz Ferdinand, with quiet verses leading to an excellent infectious chorus, albeit with far more prominent synths. In terms of lead singles, Ulysses does not better Take Me Out or Do You Want To, but is nevertheless a solid song capable of wetting fans appetites. There are other moments here where Franz Ferdinand stick to what they know, What She Came For could easily have come from the previous album, as could the very danceable Turn It On which was, according to Kapranos originally intented to eb the lead single from said album.

Other than these blasts from the past however, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is very different from anything the band has done before. The fact that Ulysses is driven by synths rather than guitars sets the tone for the rest of the album. This new sound has generally mixed results. There are instances like on Can’t Stop Feeling that Franz Ferdinand wander a little too far down this new direction, resulting in songs that could easily be labeled as disco. Can’t Stop Feeling actually works quite well, but this excessive experimentation may not go down too well with some fans. There are also some songs such as Send Him Away that certainly have promise, but never really develop beyond that, leaving much to be desired.

When they get it right however, the results are a joy to listen to. No You Girls has quite possibly the catchiest chorus the band has ever written, and must be a contender for next single because of this. The song has a real dancy, upbeat feel, as well as typically flirty lyrics, brilliantly delivered by Kapranos. The albums centerpiece is Lucid Dreams, which clocks in at just less than eight minutes. The first half is classic Franz Ferdinand, upbeat, catchy guitar pop with witty lyrics and an infectious chorus. The song then progresses with a lengthy electronic instrumental, providing an epic climax. The content of this song, as well as its sheer length make it undoubtedly the most ambitious they have put to record so far.

Although it is far from a perfect album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is a very worthy addition to the bands discography. It’s not as consistent as either of its predecessors, but the strength of its best tracks is enough to consider it an improvement on You Could Have It So Much Better. It is highly unlikely that this album will have anywhere near the same impact or influence as their first two, but it definitely has enough to please most fans and to spawn more successful chart hits, possibly kicking a rather flat UK indie scene back into gear.

Recommended Tracks
No You Girls
Lucid Dreams
Ulysses
Can't Stop Feeling
Bite Hard



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user ratings (339)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Davey Boy STAFF (3.5)
While it may be the same material dressed up in different colors, there is nothing wrong with adding...

mutatedfreek (3)
Franz Ferdinand return with their most inconsistent album to date. Whilst the highs are undoubtedly ...

Nick Butler EMERITUS (4)
Franz go electro, embrace their true nature, and make their best album yet....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2009



7235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's streaming at http://www.myspace.com/franzferdinand.
Hope the review doesn't come off too fanboyish, as I do like Franz Ferdinand a lot. They were the band who first got me into "guitar music," so they've had a huge impact on my tastes.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009



10194 Comments


UK indie scene really isn't all that flat.

I think this album is hella dull. These guys were always listenable before but there's far too much filler here for my liking.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2009



7235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Flat was probably a bad word tbh, what I meant is that there are very few bands that will be remembered in 10 years like Oasis, Blur or Pulp from the original Britpop era imo.This Message Edited On 01.23.09

Iai
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent record, definitely their best yet.

UK indie scene really isn't all that flat.

It really is. Lots and lots of crap bands =/= a good scene.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009



10194 Comments


Well yeah, Britpop's dead though. Really.
Razorlight don't count because they're shit.
But Los Campesinos!, Johnny Foreigner, Frightened Rabbit, Arctic Monkeys/Last Shadow Puppets, Bloc Party...
Maybe the mainstream's dead, I wouldn't know. Doesn't mean indie's dead though imo

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2009



20821 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely not too fanboy'ish Ali (the rating alone proves that) & overall a good review mate. Congrats on getting in first.
There are a couple of spelling mistakes to edit though; 'Thrown' should be 'throne'. You spell Alex's surname differently in the review. 'Were' instead of 'where' in the 4th paragraph. And the last of your reco tracks has an extra 'the'.
But overall a really good clear summation of the album, which I can't wait to listen to.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009



10194 Comments


It really is. Lots and lots of crap bands =/= a good scene.

i guess that part's subjective, but honestly, even if you think it's flat, you think this is going to revive it?
i liked their debut, i actually liked YCHISMB even more. i've played this 3 times through and enjoyed about 20 seconds of it.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2009



7235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the proof read Davey, I'll fix those.
This Message Edited On 01.23.09

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2009



10001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey, I did enjoy Razorlight's first one, although the self-titled is absolutely horrendous.

Iai
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i guess that part's subjective, but honestly, even if you think it's flat, you think this is going to revive it?

It wasn't me who said that. British indie won't be interesting again until something radically different comes along to force it into changing, which obvious doesn't apply to this album.

Hey, I did enjoy Razorlight's first one, although the self-titled is absolutely horrendous.

....really? If you think their self-titled is horrendous I dread to think what words you'd use to describe their newest one.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 23rd 2009



10194 Comments


^Ha ha.
Guys, it's fine, I just remember the Ting Tings saved the UK indie scene already. We need to stop worrying about it.

Douchebag
January 23rd 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Razorlight don't count because they're ****."

Get ready for another mighty boosh quote!
"And that's Razorlight over there, Still looking for the new sound"

I'm gonna pick this up later just before I start work.This Message Edited On 01.23.09

Drsmith4
January 23rd 2009



1697 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. My only criticism is that you never mentioned "Twilight Omens," which is obviously the second-best song on the album.

I really like this. It's definitely more synth-based than their last two albums.




Phantom
January 23rd 2009



8930 Comments


Ulysses is pretty damn catchy.

And The Ting Tings make me ashamed to be English.

Douchebag
January 24th 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the use of synth in this. I was worried it would sound like modern rubbsih, however it gives them a fresh new sound.

Iai
Emeritus
January 24th 2009



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Ting Tings are great because they've given us a new mildly racist way to refer to groups of Chinese people.

mutatedfreek
January 25th 2009



7351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The Ting Tings are great because they've given us a new mildly racist way to refer to groups of Chinese people.

lol

Great reviw Ali, you have definately set a good standard, I just hope my review is half as good as this. One minor note, and I may not be correct but i think where you have
capable of wetting fans appetites
I think it should read "capable of whetting fans appetites".This Message Edited On 01.25.09

gaslightanthem
January 25th 2009



5209 Comments


this is really good - i've always enjoyed a bit of franz ferdinand

withintention
January 25th 2009



297 Comments


I need this album.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2009



7235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ross: thanks, you were right about the whetting thing, I'll change it. Looking forward to your review, what sort of rating are you gonna give it?

So far this is my fav album of the year - though I've only heard three, so it doesn't have much competition. It'll have to grow on me a bit if it's going to be Top 10 come December.



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