After originally finding fame back in 2002 with hit single ‘Take Me Out’, Scottish lads Franz Ferdinand have spent the past 15 years trying desperately to avoid becoming one-hit-wonders like fellow indie bands Toploader and The La’s. However, despite featuring in heavy measure on every indie party playlist known to man, Franz Ferdinand’s self-titled debut album was received with critical acclaim, and, in contrast to their predecessors, was followed by four further albums in the nine years following their first hit.
However, despite the band’s clear previous success, I couldn’t help but find myself feeling rather sceptical regarding the release of their fifth album, Always Ascending. Having previously revealed the album’s title-track, as well as second song ‘Lazy Boy’, it was evident that the band were heading in a different direction with this album – the futuristic tones and repetitive lyrics of the newer tracks masking the band’s familiar headstrong guitar riffs and trademark vocals.
Although the comforting remnants of a band we once knew exactly what to expect from peeking through in tracks such as ‘Finally’ and ‘Glimpse of Love’, even these songs involve unfamiliar synth patterns, adding an eerie extraterrestrial tone, much as the relatively slow and often off-key notes of ‘The Academy Award’ and ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’ prove unsettling and uncomfortable.
If you’ve been anxiously awaiting Franz Ferdinand to musically reinvent themselves, Always Ascending is most certainly the album for you. Full of futuristic synth, unsettling vocals and a seemingly heavy eighties influence, the record has provided the band with an outlet to be experimental, and to show that comforting predictability is not the only thing these boys can do. However, if like me, you were looking forward to the familiar happy-go-lucky indie rock formula the band have provided fans with for so long, I’m afraid this time you will have to look elsewhere.