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Make friendz with Franz

Four years after Could Have It So Much Better, the nattily-dressed, and well-pronounced Franz Ferdinand returns with a more rotund sound in Tonight, writes Indrajit Hazra.

music Updated: Apr 30, 2009 16:47 IST

Four years after

Could Have It So Much Better

, the nattily-dressed, well-pronounced Franz Ferdinand return with a more rotund sound in

Tonight

.

The Nu New Wave

sound is more emphatic as the Glaswegian boys go into dance-punk mode right at the start with Ulysses. The opening number sounds like bubbles breaking on the surface with Alex Kapranos’ intonation,

Come on let’s get high

, seeping out like strange gas.

Bass line


Turn it on has the professional foot-tappers on heavy duty. This is Brit pop in a

Teddy Boy

zoot suit with a booming bass line.

On No you girls

, the staccato continues. Just when we’re thinking that we might be taking a modern Modern Talking route, the laconic voice swerves and goes the other way with the command,

Kiss me/ Flick your cigarette and then kiss me/Kiss me where your eye won’t meet me

.

You smell a dash of glam rock in the opening riffs of

Send him away

. But this turns into a rabbit-like

Swinging Noughties

ballad about the other guy. The Euro-pop feel gets in with

Twilight

omens, that is flipped over by the third stanza — although the ghost of the

Modern Talking Synth

doggedly follows even when the guitar chops take over.

So eclectic


Tonight

is an eclectic album. The band seems to have taken its cuffs off and loosened its narrow black ties. Because of that enforced looseness, this is a wider album.

Bite hard

has a soft cell core and is a post-punk breeze. The vocals and keyboards coolly tell us. The kraut groove is upon us in

What she came for

, followed by the more dance floor-friendly art-house funk of Live alone.

I sense that there might be a formula that the boys are using: reedy riffs, bouncy rhythm and romantic robot vocals.. pretty much time travelling business class to mod-ish post-punk times.

Can’t stop feeling is a filler than a feeler. Lucid dreams has the boys in familiar territory, a gnarly song that you can listen to with one hand on the remote and the other clutching a tall glass of vodka.

Make a point

And to drive home the point that it’s happy hours, you get

Dream

again, a song that sounds like the

Beach Boys on peyote

. And an acoustic end to a frenetic album comes with

Katherine kiss me

, a less grainy-voiced Leonard Cohen numbers about, sigh, a girl who barely knows you exist.

Tonight’s a stylish album with a bit of everything, including Franz Ferdinand. It explains why four years have done the lads from Glasgow much good to expand and contract – the two basic dance moves necessary in life regardless of what you’re dancing to.