Tonight: Franz Ferdinand provides brash good times

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the band’s highly-anticipated 3rd full-length EP, makes for a rather interesting sonic journey.
Considering all of the hype that surrounded it—secret gigs at Glastonbury and across the UK premiering new material, the blog buzz of a retooled sound courtesy of producer Dan Carey, Tonight seems to be yet another iteration of the art guitar and glitzy-cum-gritty rock sound that made Franz Ferdinand famous many moons ago. But can you blame them? Alex Kapranos and his fellow lads from Glasgow carved out a niche that both inspired followers and broke new ground. “Take Me Out” brought forth a new wave of stylish garage bands from the UK, with the success of the Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys and others.
Five years later, how does this ground-breaking sound manifest itself? The lead single “Ulysses” is classic Franz Ferdinand with Kapranos seductively bellowing “c’mon, let’s get hiiigh” over upbeat, stringy guitars with a synth underlay. As a whole, Tonight features much more synth than their debut or You Could Have Had it So Much Better and ”Twilight Omens” even features tinny organs, Ferdinand’s attempt at an off-putting atmosphere.
Noticeably absent are Kaprano’s slickly sassy diatribes backed by dynamic crescendoing guitars (see “This Boy”), for better or for worse. “Lucid Dreams”, a standout track, clocks in at 8 minutes long but is arguably the album’s only true stylistic departure. The normally succinct band allows themselves to wander instrumentally and vocally and “Dream Again” follows in a similar vein. Although it doesn’t necessarily break new ground, Kapranos’ voice is as rapturous and charming as ever and the record is still raucous, brutish and danceable. The staccato pulsing and slow build of “Live Alone,” the gnashing guitars of “Bite Hard” (oh, the pun was intended), and the knowing smirk behind the lyrics of “What She Came For” and “Oh You Girls” remind the listener why they shell out the dough for a Franz Ferdinand record: it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
It’s an easy listen, often times a great listen, and the band has a lot to offer with this set of tunes. They’re creative, they’re brash and what they do works. It’s the kind of record that booms, that drifts, that shakes and disco-dances. All and all, it’s not terribly innovative, but more than worth a listen.

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