CD Review: Franz Ferdinand, Tonight

By on February 4, 2009

On Franz Ferdinand’s new album release, “Tonight,” the Glasgow-born rockers give a nod to what got them started. With their exploration into the world of keyboards and synthesizers, Franz has likened to the sounds of new-age “dirty-pop” with funk and electronica roots. “Tonight” is an eruption of dancehall-esque energy and a successful attempt to get listeners moving. While fun to listen to, the effects seem to wear off when the album ends. Not that “Tonight” is not a thorough blend of classic rock and funk/electronic modernism, but its downside is that it is too careful – its deliberate attempt to tread new territory results in a comment on the band’s influences rather than an innovative step forward.

Although the album may not carry Franz down the road of the classics, it sure is a fun ride while on track. Singles “No You Girls” and “Ulysses” exude pop-funk vibes with shifts into fuzzy vocal effects. The chorus of “What She Came For” is like a Scottish version of the Black Kids, while the irony of melancholy lyrics dances over a tight funk beat. The epic “Lucid Dreams” may be the most memorable track because it tones down the electro-funk and ups the heavy guitar and bass – a little less Joy Division and a little more Chili Peppers. “Katherine Kiss Me” is significantly the mellowest track off the album, with its Ben Folds-ish piano solo topping off sweetly poetic lyrics.

In the digital era, it’s difficult to find a band that can be classified as “dance-rock” and still be genuinely good, so good on Franz for (almost completely successfully), trying on “Tonight.” Overall, listening to this album is kind of like a night of partying. You may not really remember how the songs go, but you’ll never forget the fun you had while listening to them.

Report Card:
Listenability: A-
Originality: B-
Lyrics: B+
Final Grade: B+


About Carrie Ingraham