Franz Ferdinand
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand


3.0
good

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
January 26th, 2009 | 26 replies | 1,922 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Franz Ferdinand return with their most inconsistent album to date. Whilst the highs are undoubtedly brilliant, the lows bring a stark sense of reality for a band that has failed to live up to their early promise.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Four years after their last album You Could Have It So Much Better hit the shelves, Franz Ferdinand are back with their latest would-be masterpiece Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. Despite being suffocated with promises from Alex Kapranos and company that this would see the band stretch their musical abilities and diversify from their trademark post-punk sound, it all sounds a bit familiar. True, there are subtle hints during the album that the boys really did try to alter their sound, but in the end it ultimately boils down to an increased dependency on the synthesizer and less on the guitars. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does feel like the boys have eventually succumbed; following the direction that British indie is taking rather than leading the herd, and for a genuinely promising band on their third studio release it is all a bit disappointing.

The sad fact is that this album is a shadow of what it could have been. There are enough good moments to show general promise for a band that has stagnated of late, but the uncharacteristic amount of filler leaves much to be desired. The band has always had the ability to deliver hugely impressive debut singles, and Ulysses is no exception. Easily out doing both Take Me Out and Do You Want To in terms of both ambition and quality it kick starts the album to life, providing a stunningly catchy chorus with sing along vocals that will no doubt become a stable part of live shows. In fact, the opening to the album has no problems at all, with Turn It On continuing the promising start, showcasing the new dependency on the humble synthesizer whilst keeping the quirky wit and style that the boys are accustomed for.

The sheer irrepressible fun of No You Girls Never Know is next up, starting with a funky bass line and snappy vocals to continue the great start to the album. However the first sense of unease in the album comes with the start of next track Twilight Omens. Whilst not a bad track in itself, it does signal the transition from the fun openers into tracks which take themselves a lot more seriously, to the extent that it is detrimental to the music offered. Live Alone is possibly the most representative track on the album due to its similarities with everything on offer. The synths get turned up to an unprecedented level, and it is this in conjunction with the sad lyrics that make the song so arrestingly catchy…at first. However, like the album as a whole the track gets boring rather fast. The vocal delivery from Kapranos becomes stale, something that before this release would have been unheard of.

During the album it becomes apparent very quickly that diversity really doesn’t work for a band like Franz Ferdinand. Despite the image of smart young men, the changes that they have implemented in this release do nothing to really expand on their sound at all, and it is not a coincidence that the best tracks on the album are tracks that sound remarkably similar in structure to their previous material. The gaping snooze-fest in the middle brings the album down drastically, and whilst Lucid Dreams offers some late redemption, with hypnotic bass riffs and a fun chorus with Kapranos on top form, it doesn’t bring enough to the table to make up for the tracks preceding it.

At the end of the day, if you liked either of Franz Ferdinand’s first two albums, there will be enough in this release to satisfy; but the satisfaction given will be more akin to that of a smoker chewing nicotine gum than of the full satisfaction of a cigarette itself. This release is infuriating, as the experimentation that the band took was in the right direction, the overhaul just wasn’t done with enough determination to succeed, leaving us with an album that undoubtedly has highlights, but is filled with just as much filler, leaving a feeling of disappointment. Ultimately this change in direction by Franz Ferdinand has lead to a dead end, and although the risk should be applauded, it is how they pick themselves up from this that will determine whether they have the staying power that many give them credit for.

Recommended Tracks

Ulysses
Turn It On
No You Girls Never Know
Lucid Dreams

Overall 3 Good



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user ratings (344)
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...

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

Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
It probably won't have the same impact as their first two albums, but Franz Ferdinand's comeback is ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
January 26th 2009



7352 Comments


So yeah I realise this is the third review of this in a few days, but I'd written it, and didn't think as highly of it as others so I though I'd post it.

gaslightanthem
January 26th 2009



5209 Comments


towards the end of the first paragraph it should be 'herd' not 'heard'
good review although i wouldn't say franz ferdinand have stagnated over the last few years at all

Fugue
January 26th 2009



7352 Comments


THanks for that, I'll change it right away. And I would say they have stagnated, compared to the initial hype over them anyway.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2009



7322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, though I do think the album is better than you give it credit for. I'd say this edges YCHISMB as it has more standout tracks, but doesnt come close to their debut.

Fugue
January 26th 2009



7352 Comments


Thanks Ali. Yeah perhaps I was a little harsh, but I just cant get into the bulky middle section of the album. "You could have it so much better" gets far to much stick.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2009



7322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're right, YCHISMB is underrated. There isn't a bad song on it, there just aren't many great ones either.

Fugue
January 26th 2009



7352 Comments


I'd agree with that, and go as far to say that "The Fallen" is probably the best individual track they have written to this date.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 26th 2009



10195 Comments


Walk Away!

Fugue
January 26th 2009



7352 Comments


Walk Away!


naww, got nothing on The Fallen.


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry Ross, I totally missed this review in amongst the other 2. Very good review too, although I almost find it difficult to believe that this is so inconsistent.
From what I have heard of ‘Ulysses’ thus far, I still prefer their previous 2 lead singles (‘Take Me Out’ is still the best from the band and simply gets put down due to being over-played).
As for Franz changing their sound, I can see why they have done it slowly slowly; It’s basically a compromise. If they had gone the whole way, we probably would have had an album akin to the polarizing new Killers LP.


Fugue
January 27th 2009



7352 Comments


Good points Davey, but I stickwith what I said, for me this album wasvery incnsistent and while the good stuff is great the middle of the album is distinctly lacking.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't doubt that at all Ross... Shouldn't be too long until I give it a listen and either put you in your place OR (most likely) 100% agree with you. :-)

Fugue
January 27th 2009



7352 Comments


Well Davey I am surprised youhaven't yet heard it, considering the fact that it's streaming in full on their myspace

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know. But when I am reviewing, I prefer to concentrate on those specific albums... I am in the middle of 2 at basically the same time at the moment & one of them is requiring many listens.

Fugue
January 27th 2009



7352 Comments


Ahh fair enough, I'm the same its just I don't review half as often as you do, although I am actually halfway through about 5 right now.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The big question is how many of those 5 will get finished?

Fugue
January 27th 2009



7352 Comments


Ehh eventually all of them I guess although I'm finding it hard to string reviews together recently; I much prefer just doing the introduction and first paragraphs lol. Tell you what after exams I'll try to get back into a more regular cycle, like one review per week.This Message Edited On 01.27.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

LOl at the Intro & Conclusion paragraphs. You have the makings of excellent sound-offs there.

Fugue
January 27th 2009



7352 Comments


what something like:

Four years after their last album You Could Have It So Much Better hit the shelves, Franz Ferdinand are back with their latest would-be masterpiece Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. Despite being suffocated with promises from Alex Kapranos and company that this would see the band stretch their musical abilities and diversify from their trademark post-punk sound, it all sounds a bit familiar. True, there are subtle hints during the album that the boys really did try to alter their sound, but in the end it ultimately boils down to an increased dependency on the synthesizer and less on the guitars. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does feel like the boys have eventually succumbed; following the direction that British indie is taking rather than leading the herd, and for a genuinely promising band on their third studio release it is all a bit disappointing.
If you liked either of Franz Ferdinand’s first two albums, there will be enough in this release to satisfy; but the satisfaction given will be more akin to that of a smoker chewing nicotine gum than of the full satisfaction of a cigarette itself. This release is infuriating, as the experimentation that the band took was in the right direction, the overhaul just wasn’t done with enough determination to succeed, leaving us with an album that undoubtedly has highlights, but is filled with just as much filler, leaving a feeling of disappointment. Ultimately this change in direction by Franz Ferdinand has lead to a dead end, and although the risk should be applauded, it is how they pick themselves up from this that will determine whether they have the staying power that many give them credit for.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

$hit, that actually isn't half bad for a full review. Ooops, I'm unsure I should have said that! ;-)



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