As the third full-length album from Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand, Tonight comes over three years after their last LP.
Listeners expecting a return to the likes of singles “Take Me Out“ and “This Fire“ from their debut self-titled album will be pleasantly surprised. Tonight builds on the band‘s sophomore effort. You Could Have It So Much Better sought to escape their singularly catchy but repetitive disco-beat guitar rock standard with a brazen and expansive guitar-focused sound.
Here, lead singer Alex Kapranos, known for his catchy and sometimes frenetic, often tightly controlled wail, exhibits a new and focused self-confidence.
Returning to a more lean and balanced sound, Tonight takes advantage of its nocturnal themes to embrace a patient, and at times even contemplative, tone with a variegated style outside our preconceptions of Franz Ferdinand-type rock. At times showing an Afro-funk influence the band has admitted to, it also leans toward electronic experimentation.
Yet the best moments come as product of the band‘s ability to continually churn out memorable riffs and hooks.
Album opener and single “Ulysses“ is unlike the sound loyal fans know and love, and it is not entirely engaging upon first listen. But with just a few repeat listens, the record‘s subversively upbeat tone sinks in enough to believe Kapranos as he belts out lyrics like: “C‘mon doll and use me / I don‘t need your sympathy.“ As a rule, buoyant vocals and quietly funky beats sneakily overpower the dark, somnambular lyrics of songs like “Twilight Omens.“
The almost eight minute long “Lucid Dreams“ is a psychedelic funk-jam oddly reminiscent of the band‘s earlier work, but winds down into an electronic boogie that is hard not to dance to.
“Bite Hard,“ the album‘s second single, escapes from the additional layers of funk and introspection. Easily the most recognizable track compared with the band‘s previous output, it begins with a quiet, pensive whisper that explodes into upbeat catchiness.
As a whole, the album is punctuated with the swagger of a late-night guitar jam session. Even the album cover has Kapranos‘ hand up and in the face of the viewer, suggesting a nonchalance that avoids the pitfall of music trying too hard.
Franz Ferdinand‘s subtle shift in sound and style will grab you with its catchy beats and persistent, different sound that is anything but disagreeable.
Give these tracks a listen: “What You Came For,“ “Lucid Dreams“
For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, The Fratellis, The Killers