Reviews

Franz Ferdinand
Always Ascending

(Domino)

6/10

Back in 2004, Franz Ferdinand arrived on indie disco dancefloors in tight trousers, tighter guitar lines and the unashamedly smouldering intention of making music for girls to dance to. Cynically, everything that followed that Mercury Prize-winning self-titled debut hasn’t captured that spirit quite so effortlessly and glamorously, but they’ve rarely strayed from that original vision.

Quickly pick through the Franz discography and you get a chronology of consistency; of a band meeting twangy, jittery expectations with every release. Stick around as long as they have – all 15+ years – and the lack of depreciation is impressive, even if that reliability has also made them easy to miss.

But with the 2016 departure of guitarist and founding member, Nick McCarthy, it felt like an opportunity for the band to reset and ‘Always Ascending’, their first album in five years, sounds fresher for it. Working with Phillipe Zdar of Cassius on production, Franz’s jagged post-punk sound has been given a sleek overhaul with the LCD-Soundsystem-esque glitter bomb of title-track ‘Always Ascending’ and electro disco buzz of ‘Feel the Love Go’ notable for having Zdar’s fingerprints all over them. 

Despite that sheen, ‘Always Ascending’ delivers on most fronts (‘Lazy Boy’ being one of the exceptions). An album that’s solid if unspectacular, it does just enough to make you forget that those skinny jeans don’t fit any more (if they ever really did), those snake-hips are love handles, and that you weren’t really a proper indie band unless at least one of you had proper cheekbones. Unlike all of the aforementioned, however, Franz Ferdinand endure.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.

If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.