Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending Review

14 years ago, the Glaswegian quartet Franz Ferdinand revitalised the idea of indie-disco with the uproarious Take Me Out; a decade-defining track, filled to the brim the now-iconic hooks, legendary lyrics and oomph of power-hungry bass. All those years on, and the now-five-piece have never really come close to matching the spectacular heights of their sophomore single, with their fifth LP, Always Ascending, offering only making a half-hearted attempt.

The album kicks off with the title track, unassuming as it whirs into action, before bursting into a thumping mix of synth, repetitive lyrics and some shuffling percussion. This – alongside many of the other tracks – focus on the ‘disco’ part of ‘indie-disco’, finding footing in the more mechanical side to their sound. Lead single Feel the Love Go hinted at this new direction from the off, with it’s best quality being the sizzling, bass-y synth that underscores much of the song. Lois Lane, despite its pessimistic lyrics, is perked up by the irresistible 80s snap off bass, before transforming into an enflamed, grittier chant towards the end. While much of the indie scene use synths to create ambience, or exciting drops, Franz Ferdinand make the mechanics they’re own, by bleeding disco with no-nonsense rock to make for an iconic, interesting sound. Although, the sound does feels muddled at points, the ideas a little lost in translation.

The album also gets a bit political at times. Track list highlight Huck and Jim notions towards the divide in American and British politics boosted by shuddering bass and catchy lyrics. Darker themes are also explored elsewhere in the moodier tracks, like The Academy Award and Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow, the wispy, monotone tracks showing another diverse side to the band’s style, but also falling flat. The former is repetitive and boring. The latter is just boring.

Once again, Franz Ferdinand haven’t reached the brilliance of their previous material, though there are some noteworthy songs to listen out for. However, the claim to be always ascending, in this case, is unfortunately not true.

Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending: 5/10

Ellie Chivers


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