Always and always and always and always. Franz Ferdinand have always been a reliable source of music to dance to, whether it be the storming highs of ‘Take Me Out’ or the danceable groove of ‘Lucid Dreams’, there’s something for everybody in the decade long discography of theirs. Always Ascending is the band’s newest effort and well, it could be one of their best.
Since their inception and the worldwide rise to fame with 2004’s Franz Ferdinand, the band seems to have steadied their ship for a journey towards a more palatable, dancier sound. 2009’s Tonight was a glorious mix of the two, before 2013’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action saw them turn back to their indie sound before heading back en route for this magical, synthier sound. Always Ascending sees the band reach their destination, and shows that they’re having a great time there.
Lead single ‘Always Ascending’ kicks off the record with a drawn out intro that eventually drops into a burst of colour and synth/guitar hybrids that’s very satisfying. The blend of sketchy guitars and pulsating synths creates an instrumental that’s steeped in groove, and the inclusion of the simple vocal hook alongside numerous other hooks makes this one of their best singles around. ‘Lazy Boy’ follows suit with confirmation of the band’s dive into their new sound with another instrumental steeped in effortless groove and sex appeal, and a guitar riff that goes straight to the hips. Oh boy.
Always Ascending flows at a pace that allows each song to come in, do their bit, and leave. This is something noticed in all Franz Ferdinand records, which proves that they’ve certainly got the knack to writing albums. While some cuts like ‘Paper Cages’, ‘Finally’ and ‘Glimpse Of Love’ come and go, they do their best to push this new sound and provide even more context and lore to it, maximising the enjoyment that comes with all of the grooves and vibes that’s thrown into it. There are a couple cuts that harken back to the old days – the acoustic led ‘The Academy Award’ in particular – but they serve as nice nuggets of nostalgia as well as momentary interludes.
Franz Ferdinand will always produce a solid record, and Always Ascending is exactly that, but does succeed at delivering this new sound in a big way. Most of the songs featured are some of their catchiest yet, and some of their best, tipping this record into one of their best and a great sign of things to come for this era of Franz Ferdinand too.