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Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Four middle-aged men discover a dance element to their music... and it’s good!
Patrick Freyne, 27 Jan 2009
It maybe a risky business, an indie rock band discovering a dance element to their music. Yet that’s what Franz Ferdinand have done on this record, and it seems oddly dignified. In fact, it’s really, really good.
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is the sound of the Glaswegian post-punk combo straining beyond the limitations of a four-piece rock band into funkier, poppier, more soulful territory. Guitars are effected-up to sound less like guitars, high-hats are played frenetically at double speed, bass guitars are slapped, and spacey ‘70s synths, clavatrons, Theremins and drum pads are deployed without self-consciousness.
And yet they never stop sounding like Franz Ferdinand: it’s just that this time they’re Franz Ferdinand at a fancy dress party where they’ve come as Prince, Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder.
In short, opening track ‘Ulysses’ lights a fire, the awesome ‘Turn It On’ enflames it and the room continues to burn until the end of the album. Although they wear their hipster, disco, funk, soul mask for most of the record, they do occasionally peek out for some Kinksy pastoralism at points, and then at the end, possibly spent and in need of a cup of Horlicks, Alex Kapranos returns to his real voice for two lovely folk songs – ‘Dream Again’ and ‘Katherine Kiss Me’. It’s like the sing-song at the end of the party... and what a party!
Key Track: ‘Send Him Away’