logo Y-Not Radio Listen Live iTunes facebook twitter mobile

CD of The Week

Week of 2/12/18

    Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending (Domino)

    The Scots of Franz Ferdinand have spent nearly 15 years crafting a catalog of stylish, suave and super-catchy songs. By 2013's Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, the band had their sound down to a science. The last time we heard from them was their successful FFS collaboration with Sparks in 2015. Soon after, founding guitarist Nick McCarthy left the band, giving Franz Ferdinand their first-ever lineup change. Going into their fifth album Always Ascending, the question is: would all of these recent experiences shake up the music?

    By replacing McCarthy with two new members, keyboardist Julian Corrie and guitarist Dino Bardot, there's a slightly bigger sound to Always Ascending. A few more synths are in the mix, not far off from the way their peers in Phoenix have relied on them in recent years. This could be in part due to producer Phillipe Zdar, who has worked on multiple Phoenix albums.

    Leadoff single "Always Ascending" and the repetitive "Lazy Boy" are grounded by the lockstep rhythm section of bassist Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thomson, the not-so-secret weapon of a rock band whose whole vibe commands you to dance.

    Frontman Alex Kapranos expands his songwriting topics on Always Ascending, with "Huck and Jim" paying a visit to the U.S. via a quintessential American novel, while also educating us on the merits of the NHS. "Lois Lane" uses another classic American fictional character to tout the merits of journalism on top of some Kraftwerk-y keyboards. And "Finally" offers a happy sentiment about how "Finally I found my people / Found the people who were meant to be found by me."

    "Feel the Love Go" is one of the most archetypical Franz songs on the record, riding off into the sunset on an extended jam featuring a surprise saxophone, before Always Ascending descends into the album-closing comedown ballad "Slow Don't Kill Me Slow."

    Always Ascending takes things down a notch from Franz Ferdinand's usual high-energy pace and it's missing their sharp spiky guitar hooks a bit, possibly due to the absence of McCarthy. But it'll still be worth it to come and dance with Franz Ferdinand at The Fillmore on April 13th.
    Review by Joey O.

Featured Concerts