franz back at it with transient collection

franz back at it with transient collection

Brandon Specktor

There was a time, years ago, when mild-mannered music lovers couldn’t spend thirty seconds in public without hearing the iconic chorus of “”Take Me Out”” being whistled, hummed, sang or vehemently air-guitared. Eventually, it faded, and for a time our ears were at ease; then “”Float On”” was released and the cycle began anew. Such is the fate of popular alternative rock, doomed to pass from catchy to cliché in a matter of months regardless of quality, and the same fate will no doubt befall the newest release by everyone’s favorite Scottish, alt-rock quartet, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.

That’s not saying that Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is unsatisfying by any means. The album is 12 tracks of power chords, dance beats and catchy male harmonization, which is to be expected from the group, but also includes a surplus of synthesizer and noticeable electronic distortion that was treated much more subtly in the quartet’s previous albums. This electro emphasis is at once a burden and a blessing; “”Ulysses””, the opening track (and the album’s first single), utilizes a heavy, emphatic synth riff that definitely adds character to an otherwise generic Franz Ferdinand single, however later tracks like “”Live Alone”” and “”Can’t Stop Feeling”” are practically drowning in synth and hard at work conjuring memories of mediocrity from the most recent Killers album.

Aside from “”Ulysses””, which is addictive in its grooviness and easily the most memorable track off the album, other notable singles are “”No You Girls””, which is reminiscent of “”Take Me Out”” in its straightforwardness and infectious chorus, and “”Lucid Dreams””, which contains a refreshing, bass-heavy breakdown in the middle of what is effectively Ferdy’s longest song to date, lasting almost eight minutes. As is always the case with this genre, though, most of the other tracks blend in and out of one another indiscriminately, lost in the whir of power chords. Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is, ultimately, a fitting title for a solid but transient album; it’ll provide some worthwhile thrills tonight, but tomorrow it may be forgotten entirely.

4 out of 5 stars