Franz Ferdinand, Tonight

Franz Ferdinand, Tonight

Franz Ferdinand’s Tonight is the Scottish rockers’ third release since their inception in 2002. Released in January of this year, the album is at best hit-and-miss.

I have to admit that musically, it’s worse than I expected. While at times there are some solid jams on display and somewhat creative rhythms at work, as a whole everything seems hampered by unremarkable lyrics and wordplay, thin-sounding recording, boring vocals, and singer Alex Kaprono’s general inability to nail the Britpop-party vibe he’s shooting for.

It’s likely Franz Ferdinand is destined to live on for “Take Me Out,” if for no other reason than it being an ideal song for pitching changes and time-outs at sporting events, but nothing here matches their big hit’s catchiness. Many songs seem like lazy afterthoughts with patchwork electronics just filling in the gaps. On “Lucid Dreams,” there are some cool psychedelic sounds, but don’t try to find the heart of the song — it’s not there.

“Twilight Omens” starts off like an XTC throwaway with charming keyboards, and at just over two minutes, it’s tolerable. “Bite Hard” and “No You Girls,” I’m guessing are the singles, with that FF trademark anthem-like chorus (yawn). “Live Alone” has cool liquid synths like a Kraftwerk song, but that can’t save it. There are some disco-funk-flavored tracks that miss the mark, as well (instead, just grab some A Certain Ratio). “Send Him Away” is the closest thing to a winner here, with its Soft Boys-meet-Ventures vibe, but I would have dug it more as an instrumental.

Chalk it up to hype over substance; of course, years ago Franz Ferdinand was one of “those” bands, the type of band that gets loads of praise in press like Pitchfork, Shortlist (does that even exist anymore, and if so, why?), and other major media outlets masquerading as “indie journalism.” One of “those” bands, when there are tons of groups mining similar territory with loads more creativity; I’d dump the singer & songwriter, but it’s probably his band, so what do I know? They’re the ones who’ve sold a million records.

[Franz Ferdinand is playing 8/8/09 at Toyota Center, along with Green Day.]
(Epic/Sony BMG -- 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY. 10022; http://www.epicrecords.com/; Franz Ferdinand -- http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, August 7th, 2009. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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