What should you expect from an album that has the lyrics “come on, let’s get high” within the first thirty seconds? A good amount. Franz Ferdinand, the Scottish dance-rock quartet behind the 2004 hit “Take Me Out,” are back with their third album: “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.” After garnering much critical acclaim for their first two albums (“Franz Ferdinand” and “You Could Have It So Much Better,” respectively) their third album is a concept album revolving around a “night out,” and the music takes us on a journey from sober planning to dancing to intoxication to flirtation to fornication and finally to the morning after, all in a revamped yet classic Franzian style.
The album opens with the subtly-driving drums and offbeat bass of “Ulysses.” Vocalist/guitarist Alex Kapranos introduces the concept of the album to follow in a soft vocal line that intensifies along with the song. By the song’s end, Franz brings back the explosive danciness that made their first album such a hit—mixed in with a touch of electronica, which is a recurring motif throughout the album. “Turn It On,” “No You Girls,” and “Can’t Stop Feeling” all share similar pounding backbeats that stay present throughout most of the songs. “Send Him Away,” has a triplet-rock/Middle-Eastern vibe that switches mid-song to a busy bassline, electric-organ, and high-guitar lines that reinforce and reinvent the feel of the first half of the song. The next song, “Twilight Omen,” predominantly features a catchy back-and-forth keyboard riff that returns throughout the song.
“Bite Hard” starts off by biting softly with the first organic three-quarters of a minute in the album. The piano/vocal duet progresses into some drum and bass action and eventually into another full-out Franz beat. Fans of their previous albums will be most satisfied with “What She Came For,” which is probably their most radio-friendly song on the album, with a really catchy hook that repeats the song’s title: “You’re what she came for!” The nightclub feel is captured in “Live Alone,” which is a dance song with a moving bassline and plenty of synthesizers. “Lucid Dreams” sounds like a mix between Cold War Kids, We Are Scientists, and Simian Mobile Disco—and is eight minutes long. The album finishes off with two “chill” songs: “Dream Again,” with dreamy and soft electronica and layered echo-heavy vocals, and “Katherine Kiss Me,” a finger-picked acoustic ballad with the lyrics “Tonight I don’t mind / Because I never wonder how the girl feels.”
Overall, “Tonight” will not disappoint. If you’re a seasoned fan of the Ferdinand, then you’ll have more than enough to Franz to. If you’re a new listener or a casual fan of what you’ve heard from them on the radio, this album certainly has its share of single-worthy songs. If you’re looking for something new, though, you won’t really find it here. Though Franz Ferdinand does what they do better than most, this album isn’t going to break any genre barriers or revolutionize alternative rock, even with all the new elements they’ve incorporated into their style. It is what it is: solid music for a night out, which is exactly what the band was going for.