Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

"I've found a new way," squawked Alex Kapranos on comeback single 'Ulysses'. "To say the same thing," he might have added. Album number three didn't quite find Franz at make-or-break stage, but with their art-meets-dancefloor shtick now the agenda of - ooh - just about every band to feature in NME in the last three years, it was clear Franz needed to show us they could do something else. Thankfully, they knew it, and Tonight… did the job nicely.

Notionally the album where Franz introduced synths to their guitar-pop sound, Tonight… has plenty else going on besides voguish fizz. Every song takes a detour from Franz's standard sound: 'Send Him Away' swings with hi-life guitar; 'Dream Again' is Syd Barrett psychedelia crossbred with early Depeche Mode; 'Katherine Kiss Me' deviates altogether from Franz' avowed post punk manifesto to explore the rich heritage of UK folk.

Best of all is the epic 'Lucid Dreams', which begins like a tough nut little brother of first album hit 'Matinee' before tail-spinning into sonic freak out and then stripping itself down to the barest electronic pulse. In seven minutes, it manages to combine Roxy Music pomp, BBC Radiophonic weirdness, dub echo, minimalist electro and the sound of someone bashing cooking pots in their kitchen. It is the best answer anyone can give to those who argue Franz have revealed themselves to be post punk-a-like one-tick show ponies.

No, they didn't reinvent the wheel with Tonight…but Franz did ride into some brave new territory. We await their next move with interest.

Best tracks: 'Lucid Dreams', 'Dream Again', 'Katherine Kiss Me'

Richard Morris

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