‘Always Ascending’ – Franz Ferdinand – Review

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By Jack

I’m a big fan of the ‘Immediate Comeback Single’ – i.e a comeback single that doesn’t take a fucking lifetime to get started. No lengthy intro, no spoken word preamble. The template for this is of course ‘Invisible Touch’ by Genesis. ‘Invisible Touch’ is actually the template for many things both pure and heinous.

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The return of Franz Ferdinand is delayed by approximately a minute and twelve seconds, during which nothing remotely interesting happens. Once the track does get going it isn’t really worth the wait.

Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Always Ascending’ is an art-pop song – to the surprise of no one. Tempos shuffle, synthesisers rise and oscillate and a guitar riff is barely audible. It is an ironic track-name for a band that have only seemed to shrink with each subsequent release.

It seems an awfully long time ago that singer Alex Kapranos sung the fateful line “I’m just a crosshair“. He’s truly hamming it up this time round. The haughty delivery has always stayed on the right side of David Byrne yelp-singing, but he really is teetering here.

It’s only exacerbated by the fact Kapranos sounds half-awake, like somebody propped him up in the recording booth and recorded his half-lucid mumblings. If he isn’t excited by his output then why exactly should we be?

In the end, we’ve heard Franz Ferdinand try the slow-build lead single, except last time it was called ‘Ulysses’ – and I liked it a lot better that time.

Some have called this ‘winding‘ but ‘whining’ comes closer to it. This is a limp return. Now gaze into the eyes of Mike Rutherford and repent.

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