on 23 January 2009
.....But not an entirely unpleasant on. It does take some getting used to though. The first two albums were very guitar based and this leans heavily to a more electropop direction, so it seems very weird at first. 'No you girls' 'What She Came For' and 'Live Alone' is a very catchy typically Franz rock/pop song in the vein of 'Do you want to' but the other tracks so elements of Orange Juice/Lyndsey wells/8O's synth/90's break beats. The tempo of the songs often change at the beginning and mid stream e.g. 'Bite Hard, What She Came Fo" which makes all the more exciting and creative. 'Katherine Kiss Me', the last track is slow and acoustic and seems abit of an odd choice to end on. If you are sole fan of guitar based music - stay way. But if you like twists and turns and fancy something varied I heartily recommend it.
on 13 February 2009
Since the release of their eponymous debut back in 2004, Franz Ferdinand might be seen as something of an oddity amongst the vast majority of their contemporaries. Take for instance the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, The Rakes, The Killers and just about any other band belonging to the new wave/disco genre that dominated the music scene five or six years ago. Each of these bands plus a whole host of others, of which there are far too many too mention, burst onto the scene offering such great promise and excitement, only to return with follow ups of such uninspired banality, it seemed hopeless to expect anyone to serve up a second offering of any genuine worth. Thankfully Franz Ferdinand managed to buck this trend of crashing disappointment by returning with 2005's 'You Could Have it So Much Better', an album charged with such unshakably infectious melodies and perfectly crafted pop songs, that many of the already lacklustre records being released at the time were rendered about as exciting as a mild bout of tinnitus. Anyway, having failed to disappoint us yet, Franz Ferdinand are back with their third album, 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand'. With four years having passed since their previous outing, anticipation and expectation was always going to be high. Would they be able to deliver for a third time running? The answer is a resounding YES. Furthermore, this could well be their best record to date. The band combines their obvious disco-pop sensibilities with a newfound electronic element, creating a somewhat fuller texture that has not always evident in their previous albums. The most obvious example of this has to be `Lucid Dreams'. Arguably the defining highlight of 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand', the song builds from a typically catchy verse into an enormous, synth-laden chorus, concluding with, an admittedly slightly drawn out, four minute long electro freak-out with the omission of guitars altogether. Other definite highlights include current single `Ulysses', a track that offers the melodic facets that dominated their debut, whilst clearly showing off their recent penchant for dirty synth hooks. `Turn it On' and `No You Girls' are instant crowd-pleasers, each with the potential for future singles. `Can't Stop Feeling' also deserves a mention, serving as perfect indicator as to how far they have come over the past four years, the track being driven by a stomping synth riff as the guitars, once again are put to one side. While critics of the band might argue that there isn't quite enough experimentation or risk taking on offer here to attract many new fans, they certainly aren't at risk of losing any. Ultimately, this is the sound of a band genuinely enjoying themselves in the studio, which is something that translates with absolute clarity. With a third, refreshingly strident album now under their belt, one can only hope that Franz Ferdinand will be able to maintain the same high standards on their fourth outing, and on this evidence, they should have no trouble in doing so.
on 11 February 2009
This album has had mixed reviews in the press, but don't be put off. This is a quality set of songs, some of which ("No You Girls, "Bite Hard", "What She Came For") stand out as instantly catchy candidates for singles, but the more I listen to the album, the harder I find it to decide which song I like best. They are all so good in their own way. At the moment, "Live Alone" is my favourite. It's insanely danceable and the lyrics show a rejection of true commitment in favour of the excitement and thrill of love. The comfortable and routine is not for Alex Kapranos! As with previous Franz albums,the lyrics, melodies and hooks are still there. It takes a few listens before they are fully revealed, but the album is all the better for it. Although the songs stand well along, to do them full justice, I think this is best listened to as an album, as it truly is a journey through preparing for, enjoying and recovering from a great night out. Buy the album and make up your own mind.
on 29 January 2009
Franz Ferdinand are a band. Let's get that nice and sparkling clear, shall we? And, as such, bands make music. Sometimes they make a little music, sometimes they make a lot but they always can be counted on to know where exactly they came from. Now imagine, expanding on Armando Iannucci's analogy about how we indulge the creative members of our society, that Franz Ferdinand were butchers. Okay, so they turned up, all neatly dressed and hygienic, in 2004 and they did indeed chop some good meat. They filleted, they minced and they quite possibly even boned a little. And we all saw what they had done and we were pleased. The following year, they saw fit to make sausages and even showed us how to spatchcock a game bird or two. Well done, the Franz!
Now, after a long-deserved break, they return in 2009 - the year of the Ox - and suddenly Franz Ferdinand have gone cannibal on us. Gone are the carefree days of the Slap Rump or a generous bit of Top Bone action, now they want to eat you, body and soul. Something dark happened while they were away and now they want your blood. You can hear the pulsating jugular beat in opening track "Ulysses" and then pretty much everywhere else on the album. Flesh tears, tendons snap and bones are stripped clean as we descend into the Danza Macabra, the Zombie Jamboree. And finally (not including the superb Erol Alkan remix of "Do You Want To"), Franz are leading the charge back onto the dancefloors, where all good Pop music belongs.
Franz Ferdinand have never been a dark band, musically or otherwise, but this sees them finally shake off the formulaic "Mr Soft as performed by the Fire Engines" vibe that their previous two albums were mired in. Add to that the fact that Alex Kapranos, while clearly better dressed than 99% of his peers, is old enough to know better and so is possessed with the classier brand of Pop nous that age brings, and we could be looking at a band that will actually stand the test of time. They say you get the heroes you deserve and, in the same month that the NME somewhat pathetically pits a crass anachronism like Noel Gallagher up against Barack Obama as Hero of 2008, God only knows that we need some new ones.
We experience music differently these days. Songs are first heard coming from speakers, tinny ones designed not to reproduce the full spectrum dominance of sound, but an approximatation, an imitation of sound, tiny white ear buds of computers. After weeks of hearing "Ulysses", the albums premiere single and starting track, from televisions and sandwich shop radios, it made a pleasant surprise to be struck with the warm and rich sound of the production.
Unlike many people, Franz Ferdinand seem to value sonic clarity over volume dominance. And whilst "Tonight" is loud, it's only loud in the right places. "Ulyssess", like most of the rest of album, is dripping in melodies, choruses, effective and interesting rhythms (that never bore), and the opening triumvate (including "Turn It On" and "No You Girls"), may make you think that the band have evolved barely since 2004, the next one, "Send Him Away" shifts gears with a semi-reggae set of drum rolls, a high end bass, and angular guitar that sounds like a somewhat angry, stuttering "White Man In Hammersmith Palais". Add to this the delibrately dated - and one would therefire say classic, timeless keyboard sounds reminiscent of late era Abba in "Twilight Omens", and you have something that sounds very much like Franz Ferdinand, Jim, but not as you know it.
Three and a half years is a long time in pop music. In three and a half years, The Beatles went from "Love Me Do" to "Marharashi's Chanting Family" (or whatever it was called), and Radiohead went from "Pablo Honey" to "OK Computer". Franz haven't quite moved that far, but it's definitely a step beyond what they did before, an evolution, still memorable at the first listen ("What She Came For" is unforgettable), shifting tempos and styles betyween songs and inside songs in a way that is both fluid, natural, and surprising : "Live Alone" sounds like Blondie, Kraftwerk, Human League, whilst also sounding very 2009. The sound is classic, timely yet timeless, lyrically it is minimal, vague, and economical : about nothing, something, and anything at the same time. In some ways, the words allow you to project onto the songs whatever you want them to mean : but also quite clear. That's the beauty of language, and Franz are literate and have the benefit of historical awareness, from their name down.
"Lucid Dreams" is probably the album stand out, as it progresses as a strong, weighty track, before moving to the left with an instrumental jam reminiscent of Electronic's latter-period that is like a modern day version of the type of acid/techno/house buildups and breakdowns, albeit played on 'traditional instruments'. With this as the final full on band song, the closing two songs - "Dream Again" and "Katherine Kiss Me", are understated, gentle explorations that hint at the type of future that Franz Ferdinand could have, plucking out heartfelt moments with power. That said, "Tonight" is no radical reinvention nor a tired retread of the past, but the next step on an interesting journey.
The Special Edition has 40 minutes of remixes : most of which are recognisably Franz and avoid the usual feeling of modern remixes where a brief fragment of the original is shoe-horned in clumsily ; these are interesting and worthy reinterpretations you will be returning to a few times.
For now, and maybe forever, Franz Ferdinand will never seemingly produce an album that rips away the artifice of civilisation, and repression, to expose the raw heart and hurt of emotion.. but they are getting there and the point of the journey is not to arrive, after all.
on 17 December 2008
This is so worth the wait. If you're holding your breathe wondering why it's taken a while relax. Tonight is as fresh and immediate as their debut but darker, tighter, and way more psychedelic. The LP opens with current single Ulysses, setting an insistent and edgy pace. Turn It On, Live Alone, and Bite Hard all feel like they're wearing sunglassses after dark the night after the night before. Lucid Dreams is twisted and trippy, it's followed by Dream Again an even further out twist. For the whole of Tonight, they're once again the hippest band in the UK, way out there on their own. Finishing with Katherine Kiss Me, one of their most instant head to feet to party numbers. Whoever Katherine is - Tell Her Tonight!
on 17 March 2009
The album,takes a little getting into, but its relentless beat (until Katherine Kiss Me) takes you out for a night you'll never come home from ;-)
The vinyl edition is superb. Two discs, top notch pressing and a big sturdy cover that won't get dog eared over time. Of course, worth getting the 2CD edition as well for Blood (The Dub remixes), but if there is one vinyl album you have to get in 2009 it's this one. So good, you'll want to buy a turntable if you haven't got one.
on 2 July 2009
This album is a really good one and i would reccomend to any franz ferdinand supporters to buy this one as its possibly the best of 3 albums! More amazing base lines and amazing music from the band.
- The album came perfectly on the first day of the expected delivery date and was in mint condition. fab! by it now!!!!!!!!
on 22 January 2009
Just received this product today, four days ahead of its release date. Don't ask me how I managed to do this since, honestly, I'm as surprised as anyone. The album is great which all fans will know from listening to the leak a week ago. The documentary is just as good. We get to see the Franz tell the story of how the album was recorded and where it all happened. It's just over 40 minutes and looks as good as the album sounds. The book contains the lyrics and the CDs are contained inside the pages.
I havn't had a chance to listen to the vinyls yet but I'm sure they will sound as good, or even better, than the CD. The box itself feels genuin and closes and opens nicely. The only negative thing I can mention is the packing of the vinyls which feels a bit out of tune with the rest of the box.
For sure a great product and a must to get for all you Fanz.
on 4 February 2009
So, I'll nail my colours to the mast and admit that I loved the first FF album; liked the second a lot, and am definitely impressed by the third after several listens. A lot has been said here about the album's style and content so I'll stick to writing a review that should be helpful to prospective buyers.
Like Bloc Party (yes I like them too `Hornpipe'!) FF have bravely attempted to avoid merely treading water and started to push their own boundaries a little. I agree with the previous reviewer who said that the burgeoning electronic aspect has resulted in the band's trademark edgy guitars being dumbed down; however they are at least trying to be fresh - bringing in influences from the likes of Human League, Gary Numan and Pet Shop Boys is fine - as long as it's not overdone. I thought that the second track on the album was the most like FF of old; Ulysses is a cool name for a cool track; at least they're embracing our rich cultural history rather than simply recycling old names!
The dub-style bonus CD reworks the songs rather than simply extending them and is a real nod to faithful fans. Lie down, turn out the lights, stick some decent headphones on and crank up the volume on this one.
Recognisable but fresh; spirited but thoughtful; I would recommend this as both a good way in for those who are unfamiliar with FF, and a treat for those who have followed the band over the past seven years.