Rating ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊ ◊
Deep in the bowels of an almost derelict town hall in the Glaswegian suburbs, with Brian Higgins (the man who built the empire of Girls Aloud) and a bunch of retro synthesizers for company, Franz Ferdinand have been experimenting.
After releasing two albums in 2005, and dragging indie-pop firmly into the mainstream in the process, the next album was always going to be their biggest challenge. The indie/post-punk scene they left behind is running on fumes and Alex Kapranos et al are hoping Tonight will be its next landmark album.
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is still very recognisable Franz Ferdinand. The choppy, layered riffs, punchy drums and sixth-form, innuendo-laden vocal lines are all still evident under the synth. One gets the feeling that they have endured a struggle between pushing the boundaries of their sound, but quickly venturing back to their comfort zone when things have got a bit too much.
The soundscape on a lot of the tunes is impressively vast with some truly distinctive effects, but Tonight doesn’t quite flow like it should. There’s the nagging feeling that the album’s a little bit over-produced, and
they’ve maybe gone a bit too Hot Chip.
But when they do eventually break form, such as the 8-minute pulsating electro-odyssey that is Lucid Dreams, the result is truly memorable. Next time, they should really let go.