On First Listen: Tonight: Franz Ferdinand


As I told a friend a while ago, I stopped caring about Franz Ferdinand precisely when The Rapture released Echoes here in the States. For my money, I had always equated The Rapture, Franz Ferdinand, and The Strokes (more or less) as an influx in “New York” rock and it’s slight variations. With the rapid over-exposure of Franz singles “Take Me Out” and “This Fire,” the group began to wear on me more quickly than its contemporaries. I can’t even remember their follow-up album, You Could Have It So Much Better (so much so that I just had to look up the abum title).

Franz Ferdinand’s third full-length LP Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, however, is one hell of a leap for this band. Gone are the awkward, plodding moments of the group’s past–the jarring atonal moments that often arose as the band tried to do a little too much. In their place is a more subtle, composed album full of electronic burps and sythn upheavals. From the opening tip of “Ulysses”,¬† this record sounds less frantic albeit more confidently aggressive. Franz seems to be playing toward a purpose rather than trying to cap off a record.

The belly-busting synth groans on “Can’t Stop Feeling” create an animatronic wonderland reminiscent of Chuckie Cheese stage robots and is followed by the epic melodies of “Lucid Dreams”, one of the group’s poppiest and most dynamic tracks as its crescenos bubble and bounce like a superball hurled down a staircase. Meanwhile, the track’s closing three minutes are the most experimental thing the group has ever done, drifting out with panning dub synths and trashcan percussion. This record is undeniably growing on me and we’ll see where it goes. No doubt it’s their most interesting release to date and might have me interested enough to go back and listen to their first two discs.

Franz Ferdinand – “Ulysses”


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