Franz Ferdinand impress Katie Leigh-Lancaster with an infectious comeback single, but don’t do quite enough to ascend to the heights of their own legacy
Ever the trailblazers of indie rock, Franz Ferdinand return with the much-anticipated single, ‘Always Ascending’, to follow up their 2014 release, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. While the melancholy piano and The Killers-esque synth anticipate a transgression towards a more brooding sound, Paul Thompson’s pounding drumbeat bursts in to assert that it is dance-rock at heart. The infectious bassline, paired with an apt electronic surge, flaunt the experimental nature of the track, veering over the border of familiarity. The centrepiece, vocally, is the beckoning repetition of ‘wake me up / Come on wake me up’, which playfully winds the tempo up to a hypnotic chorus, and leaves an echo of ‘No You Girls’ in its wake.
At moments, however, the clashing harmonies and the unusually flat melody of ‘always ascending / The opening line leaves an uncertain ending’ put Alex Kapranos’ vocals in a chokehold. The shrill backing vocals sit uncomfortably with Kapranos’ signature baritone, not tarnishing the track overall, but leaving a peculiar aftertaste. This is well masked by the heavy beat and easily forgotten among the eccentric lyricism, but detracts somewhat from the otherwise polished feel of the track.
‘Always Ascending’ is gloriously experimental indie, but not quite glorious enough to ascend past the legacy of the ‘Take Me Out’ era.
Franz Ferdinand will play the O2 Academy Birmingham on 20th February 2018. The new album, ‘Always Ascending’, will be released 9th February 2018.