Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (Cover Artwork)

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand: Tonight: Franz FerdinandTonight: Franz Ferdinand (2009)
Sony Music

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Scottish post-punkers and former "it" band Franz Ferdinand returned this year after a four-year absence with LP #3, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, and for the first three minutes and 11 seconds, listeners might suspect they've lost their G.D. minds. Where 2006's You Could Have It So Much Better was brawn.
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Scottish post-punkers and former "it" band Franz Ferdinand returned this year after a four-year absence with LP #3, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, and for the first three minutes and 11 seconds, listeners might suspect they've lost their G.D. minds. Where 2006's You Could Have It So Much Better was brawny and brazen, mightily dishing out sarcastic quips and bashing out chords ??n drum skins, Tonight tempers down the punk to focus on the post-. Synth and bass lines are pushed up in the mix and the dance beats are more obvious. And for track one, "Ulysses," that's just plain jarring. The Franz have always had an affection for repeating phrases a heck of a lot (what're the words to "Take Me Out" again?), but frontman Alex Kapranos does the song little favors by hissing "C'mon let's get high!" It's all a bit processed and goofy.

But then the track ends. "Turn It On" kicks in with a snare fill. The song's a standard "Hey girl" cut, but stylistically it's the same as "Ulysses" -- atmospheric yet pulsating, spacey yet rocking. It's a fine line. "No You Girls" follows in those steps with an even bigger, catchier chorus. By this point, it becomes clear that, hey, Tonight is just as good as You Could Have It So Much Better, just different. It's arguably the closest the band has come to making a straight dance record, filtered through post-acid Beatles and pre-Afro-beat Talking Heads. It becomes clear, then, that "Ulysses" might have gotten a raw deal on first listen. Sure, it's not the strongest track on the record, but it still has to bear the brunt of frustrated expectations with that opening slot.

Tonight's first half plays with Franz's dance rock sound by emphasizing synthy pop. The album's second half then pushes that experiment to its farthest reaches. "Bite Hard" goes for a quiet piano line introduction that's more John Lennon circa Imagine than Gang of Four, and then uses a searing guitar solo for its conclusion. "Lucid Dreams" is the real test, though, cycling through every move Tonight has tried. At nearly eight minutes in length, it's twice as long as anything else on the album. There's some of the minimalism from "Bite Hard," some of the oversexed synth stomp from "Ulysses," and a bit of the pep from "Turn It On." Oh, and a four-minute psychedelic/electronica mash-up halfway through. Album ender "Katherine Kiss Me" is the final shocker, an honest-to-God acoustic ditty.

If you like Ziggy Stardust Bowie, Thin White Duke Bowie, Talking Heads: 77, M83, Scottish accents, Revolver, and, uh, the other two Franz Ferdinand albums, you should be able to get behind Tonight. It circumvents fans expectations, gives detractors something new to consider, and is generally pleasant to listen to as well.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TahoeJeff (February 15, 2009)

I'm confused. If they put out a record in 2006, how are they returning after a 4 year absence? Are you posting this review from the future?

scorpiondeathlock (February 15, 2009)

ulysses, turn it on, and bite hard are fantastic.

Problematiclogic (February 14, 2009)

This has a few fantastic songs on it. Haven't really listened to them much before this album

mikexdude (February 14, 2009)

I thought this was PUNKnews. lolz

crackpotdemagogue (February 14, 2009)

score is for heisel awarding the s/t four stars

deadelectromix (February 13, 2009)

Isn't this that band that wrote that one song? I think it went something like... "stop take some time to think, figure out what's important to you" or something.

chrisafi (February 13, 2009)

Horribly mediocre

maverick (February 13, 2009)

This band is the definition of diminishing returns. The S/T was a killer record (easily four stars) that I still find time to listen to. You Could Have It So Much Better was decent, but I haven't listened to it since maybe six months after it came out. This one I've had for a month now and listened to maybe a dozen times or so, and I couldn't tell you a damn thing about it. Wholly unmemorable.


Cos (February 13, 2009)

In case anyone was confused, "G.D." stands for GOD-DAMNED.

eazyd2 (February 13, 2009)

needs more haggis

miniblindbandit (February 13, 2009)


CCSummers (February 13, 2009)

absolutely not.

inagreendase (February 13, 2009)

The first few times I listened to the last album, I thought, "Hey, this is pretty much as good as the first one."

Then I never listened to it again. First impressions are shit.

Then again, I don't ever really listen to the self-titled either.

Dante3000 (February 13, 2009)

The punx were upped nowhere in this review.

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