Franz Ferdinand

Always Ascending

Domino

Feb 08, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand exploded onto the music scene with their global hit "Take Me Out" in 2004. In the 14 years since, they've released three albums, lost some popularity, and even lost founding member and keyboardist/guitarist Nick McCarthy. But what the remaining members haven't lost is their appetite for creating energetic and dynamic rock that fits as comfortably on the dance floor as it does in the rock arena.

Featuring inspirations from '70s disco beats and the synth rock of '80s New Wave, Always Ascending is decidedly a dance pop album first and a rock album second. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Yet it's not just hovering in the past either. These inspirations are modernized via a clever mingling with the vibrant swagger the band is known for. Reminding us why we liked them so much in the first place.

But fear not. This is no disco dance album. It's more like intelligent dance music, but far from the electronic music genre IDM. More like a thinking man's dance music where dancing is optional and you don't have to be dancing to appreciate it. That's because, like LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads, Franz Ferdinand infuse their super-charged mix of bouncy synth rhythms and playful hypnotic beats with fluid electronic textures and surging guitar riffs.

The first three tracks that open the album, "Always Ascending," "Lazy Boy," and "Paper Cages" exemplify the majestic power of this formula and along with "Feel the Love Go" are the standout tracks destined to be regulars on countless playlists. The dance factor is turned down a bit on "Finally," "Lois Lane," "Huck and Jim," and "Glimpse of Love," but we're still left with abundant quantities of enthusiastic and sharp-edged electro-pop. All are a tasty concoction of frothy melodies richly layered with shadowy atmospherics and catchy refrains.

The only reason Always Ascending does not rate a perfect 10 is because of a couple of David's amongst the Goliaths. Two slower, more contemplative tracks that don't work as well, but don't qualify as clunkers either. Always Ascending is definitely an early contender for best of 2018 lists. (www.franzferdinand.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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