Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending
Do you remember Franz Ferdinand? You remember Franz Ferdinand, from that time where it seemed like New York rock and roll was the pinnacle of popular music. The Strokes were on top of the world, Franz had a number one hit with "Take Me Out", everyone was young, played guitars and wore motorcycle jackets. You're there, and it was 2004. You likely haven't heard much of the band since then because that scene burned out almost as fast as it became popular. The indie-rock of that era has not aged well, nor the bands from it, but to their credit Franz Ferdinand have always been able to keep their head above water int he changing musical scene. There has always been a better version of Franz Ferdinand out there. Almost without fail as Franz Ferdinand try to shift their sound there comes another band who is sleeker, better and more popular. ON Always Ascending their fifth studio album you can sense that as they push this synth-indie-rock sound forward. The whole things feels slightly behind the times; late to the electropop scene and the idea of playing dance music you can do with real instruments is a well that has been gone to over and over again. Nothing feels all that fresh or exciting, just a bit of a re-hash. Even the band sound bored on tracks like "Finally" which is some 60s inspired rock track that is really quite awful. The album starts with some promise but as it goes on it feels like everyone involved is slowly losing interest. The first track is pretty bright synth-rock, but by the time you get to "The Academy Award" no one seems to really give a shit.
"Lazy Boy" is one of the standouts here with it's tongue in cheek lyrics and a bigger sound. "Lois Lane" sounds eerily like LCD Soundsystem's "i used to" but so much worse. Somehow, someway each track gets worse and worse as you go on, leaving you with this really unexpected sour feeling towards the album. My breaking point was "Huck and Jim" in which the speaking singing is simply maddening. The staccato delivery which they have had since they started as a band just doesn't work on this album and makes them sound like they are going back to the well of old tricks just to get through this thing. This is one of those records where the words are failing me because it's just so fucking boring. This album feels like it could have been released at any time in their career and no one would bat an eye, almost nothing feels all that new. The saxophone solo on "Feel the Love Go" is the last dated straw harnessing the exciting element that electropop bands used 3 years ago. There is nothing here, it's not an offensive album but it just has very little to offer. The thing is the album is in your face bad, it's just boring which in a way is even worse. The album closes on this almost showgaze synth outro which just extends your boredom that much longer. You may get your hopes up when you start this record and think Franz Ferdinand may still have something in the tank, but I hate to tell you; they don't.
3.0 out of 10