In a way, it felt strange to realise that this was the first time I had actually listened to a Franz Ferdinand album all the way through. But then again, after I’d listened to Tonight (the band’s third album, and first in four years), perhaps it’s not so strange; because it seems to me that Franz are much more of a singles band, or an individual songs band. I t hink the twelve tracks on Tonight would sound better in isolation than they did hearing them all together.
Franz Ferdinand have their own distinctive sound, which is essentially dancey guitar music with some unusual left turns. ‘Ulysses‘, the album opener and lead single is the same, but different: it has more of a groove, it sounds a bit… earthier, a cousin of ‘The Dark of the Matinee‘ that’s been around the block a few times and maybe dragged through a couple of hedges. Nothing in the next few songs matches it for impact; but, as I said, I suspect that may be because it’s first, and because I didn’t hear the others individually. (I ought to test that sometime.)
The real departures from what I’m used to hearing Franz sound like don’t come until the very end. First of all is ‘Lucid Dreams’: whilst all the other tracks don’t even reach four minutes, this one lasts for nearly eight — the reason for which is a four-minute techno bit stuck on the end. This is not necessarily the best way to make a long song, and it does seem rather superfluous.
The album’s closing track, ‘Katherine Kiss Me’, is acoustic, which I’m unused to hearing from Franz Ferdinand; but better — my favourite song on the album, in fact — is the song immediately before it, ‘Dream Again’. It’s slow, echoing, strange, and shows more of the range Franz Ferdinand capable of. Entertaining though Tonight is, I’d have liked to see more of that range on display.