Let’s face it, Franz Ferdinand, though extremely enjoyable, has never been breaking a lot of ground with their push to get you to dance. Comparisons to various bands crossed all over their debut, and this album is no different. But, approaching the end of the day, you’ll still find that another solid record from this Scottish group, Tonight Franz Ferdinand, is not necessarily a bad thing.
“Ulysses,” the opening track surfaced a few months back, and it offered promise of a more dance-worthy set of tunes. The problem with that approach to a description of this album is that the band has always been a dance-laden band. Sure, they took a slow dance approach last go-round, but they’ve always encouraged you to dance, since their inception!
Sure, a song like “Turn It On” definitely will make you hit the dance floor a little harder, as the beat entices you to grab your friend and head straight for the floor. In fact, all the songs, excluding “Send Him Away” and “Katherine Kiss Me” have a danceable quality, and even those two aforementioned songs will allow you sway with your partner in a reasonable fashion.
Once again, the band succeeds on various levels. Somehow, singer Alex K is capable of crafting lyrics, accompanied by harmonies of course, that suggest involvement from all parties, listener and band member alike. This is perhaps the best modern approach to dance music, as everyone loves a little participation. Then you have to add the increasingly steady rhythm section, which always manages to create songs that make you want to stomp around. In addition, they sound tighter than ever before. It’s the same stylistic approach as previous efforts, but small changes have pushed the band further than before.
One thing is clear here, the production has changed on this album. The vocals sound a lot clearer here, and the music just seems to have a more straightforward clarity. Increased synth or keyboard elements have also given the band a stronger edge in their overall appeal, at least when that pertains to dance floor ready tracks. They don’t seem out of place on the record, rather an expected progression from a group that seems to clearly be searching for a new direction. Another noticeable change appears in Kapronos’ voice. There is a bit of a croon here, that visited at times in the past, but was never as prevalent.
At the close of the album, you aren’t blown away. You probably can’t decipher every single song from those before it. You can, however, say that you thoroughly enjoyed your listening experience. You will look forward to cleaning your house with this playing loudly in the background. It’s a good album, and you’ll enjoy it, you just won’t adore it.
Download: Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses [MP3]