Album Review: Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending

Release date: February 9, 2018

Published by JB

…..album 5 from the remodeled Scottish quintet hits dance floors harder than ever before

7/10

“Don’t be concerned
It’s just the way that gravity works round here
All slowly rising, falling patiently
Feel no
Feel no fear

from Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Always Ascending’ off the album of the same name (2018)

Alex Kapranos hints about a return to the dancefloor with Always Ascending, but for these ears they never left.  Sure, ‘Take Me Out’ will always be their calling card, but tracks from past years like ‘No You Girls’, ‘Ulysses’, ‘Right Words’, and the bulk of the album material always pointed fans towards plenty of involuntary body movement under flashing lights.

And the Philippe Zdar-produced Always Ascending certainly follows course.   Complete with the Franz Ferdinand vintage 60’s rock beat and signature rhythm guitars, the band hasn’t sprayed itself too far from its homebase sound.

The title track is a particular standout, making a case for inclusion into the top 5 Franz Ferdinand songs of their 16 years in existence.   The effervescent atmosphere Kapranos builds at the beginning of the title track with the soaring synths and acoustic piano are still impeccable.   If Always Ascending needed a song to catch your attention and put your fleeting attention span over to the turntable it was something like this.   It’s five minutes-plus of undeniable Franz Ferdinand bliss that still sounds like no other band.   Few bands match the street cred that comes with a blistering rock beat without sounding like an over-produced pop hit made on an MacBook.   This is rock and roll first and foremost with dancefloor gravity second.

Disco flourishes show up throughout on tracks like ‘Glimpse of Love’ as does some Americana rockabilly on odd, but pleasing tracks like ‘The Academy Award’ and ‘Huck and Jim’.

The apple hasn’t fallen far from the Franz Ferdinand tree here.   Kapranos still sounds amazing when he’s at his most brilliant; and that’s more often than not on this excellent album.

–TWTHS

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