Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending

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Franz Ferdinand try something a little different, but their most distinctive traits remain in tact.

“When you make a new record, you want to surprise yourself and surprise other people,” Alex Kapranos told Double J about the way Franz Ferdinand approach making new music.

There may well be a few surprises when fans hit play on Always Ascending, and the band have called it ‘a rebirth’, but you can’t imagine this record alienating anyone who has loved this band in the past. It remains very disnctively a Franz Ferdinand album. 

 

The electro shuffle of the album’s title track, which opens the record, certainly brings them closer to the world of dance music than ever, but it’s more of a psychedelic pop moment than a club banger.

“Something we’ve really been aiming to do is take some of the sounds and techniques that you find in dance music, but put them into a played band context,” Kapranos said of their approach on album number five.

The involvement of producer Philippe Zdar has no doubt helped the band achieve this kind of disco/pop/indie hybrid, but between Kapranos’ distinctive voice and the way the band write, it still very much sounds like a Franz Ferdinand.

We’ve been aiming to take the sounds and techniques of dance music, but put them into a band context

Alex Kapranos — Double J, 2018

There’s a quirkiness to the Franz Ferdinand approach that gives them that distinctiveness, and they show it in spades on this latest record.

‘Lois Lane’ is a curious kind of lo-fi bedroom pop song. In it, Kapranos basically praises the Superman character for her work as a journalist and peering into what he imagines her life is like. It’s so wonderfully strange and proof that great lyrical inspiration can come from anywhere.

And for anyone struggling to justify moments of inactivity, Kapranos has written ‘Lazy Boy’ especially for you.

“I was literally lying in my bed, after my girlfriend had been at work for a couple of hours, and I was thinking ‘I am a really lazy boy and I’m really enjoying it. I’m gonna celebrate my laziness right now!’” he said.

“In our lives, we beat ourselves up for those moments when we’re lazy. We beat ourselves up for those moment where we’re lazy, but I feel we shouldn’t. We should rebel against that and embrace our laziness. If you’re gonna be lazy, be lazy properly and enjoy it.”

It’s good to hear the band stepping out a bit and trying new things, but it’s also comforting to know they can do so without losing the characteristics that have made them such a vital concern over the past decade or so.

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