The new Young Fathers album is their most intriguing and absorbing yet, building effortlessly on the plaudits received by their previous workWritten by Letty Gardner on 23rd March 2018
Album Review: Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
Following their latest release, music critic Jake Kilshaw is still left waiting for a Franz Ferdinand album that matches their earliest work
“It’s clear that Franz Ferdinand are still capable of creating catchy, danceable indie rock music, but the delicacy has disappeared
For me, Franz Ferdinand’s 2004 self-titled debut album is still their best work, by far. It managed the impressive feat of remaining just as interesting and exciting throughout, never gets old (no matter how many times ‘Take Me Out’ is played), and most importantly, is best played in order. It’s all well and good to write ten brilliant songs and putting them together, but to arrange them so that each complements the other is a difficult feat. This is something Franz Ferdinand managed on their debut album but have since been unable to replicated. The band’s second and third releases started well but tailed off and were, quite simply, too long, with too many filler tracks.
Fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, seemed like a forced and unnecessary comeback album, and the collaboration with Sparks to form supergroup FFS was completely disappointing. The band therefore had a high bar to reach if Always Ascending were to be a success. They’ve certainly come a lot closer than perhaps expected, but the album’s lack of a flow has made it yet another comeback album from a band that really should have stopped producing music almost a decade ago.
“Franz Ferdinand’s links with LCD Soundsystem became clearer when ‘Always Ascending’ was released, sounding more like something off the New York-based group’s 2017 record, American Dream
Relevancy aside, the music on Always Ascending is the closest to the band’s early sound that it has achieved in years, while clearly taking inspiration from elsewhere. Franz Ferdinand’s links with LCD Soundsystem became clearer than ever when lead single ‘Always Ascending’ was released, sounding more like something off the New York-based group’s 2017 record American Dream, only with Alex Kapranos’ unmistakeable vocals. The two groups have worked together, albeit unofficially, on several occasions in recent years. Franz Ferdinand covered ‘All My Friends’ and LCD Soundsystem released a version of ‘Live Alone’, and it is apparent that they have both had an effect on each other’s recent work. LCD Soundsystem’s staple slow-build style mixed with synths is most prevalent on the title track ‘Always Ascending’, while the lyrics ‘At the over thirties singles night / The over thirties singles night / It’s bleak, it’s bleak, it’s bleak’ pokes fun at middle-age in a way only LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy could do.
“While better than expected, Always Ascending is still unable to reach the bar set by Franz Ferdinand’s earliest work, and, as a whole, is disappointing
While better than expected, Always Ascending is still unable to reach the bar set by Franz Ferdinand’s earliest work, and, as a whole, is disappointing. That’s not to say the music is bad - far from it, and many of the songs on the album are excellent - but when taken as a full album, it just feels thrown together. The likes of ‘Huck and Jim’, ‘Glimpse of Love’ and ‘Finally’ are all great songs when listened to individually, but they’re no match for the band’s 2004 debut album which remains an unbeatable masterpiece in British indie rock.