After some formation changes (departure of Nick McCarthy and arrival of Julian Corrie) and five years of waiting, Franz Ferdinand are back with their fifth studio album Always Ascending. In this ten tracks record, the Scottish band experimented with new sounds and has transformed their traditional indie rock genre.
The title track Always Ascending opens the album with its chord construction that never resolves, delivering a sensation of steady rise (called Shepard tone). In this song the traditional indie rock sound well mixes with the new disco influences.
But Always Ascending isn’t the only song in this album whose title describes the track itself. In fact, we could say the same of Lazy Boy. Despite the upbeat and sinister melody and the crunchy guitar riff, the lyrics are too repetitive and simple, lazy.
Right in the middle of the album, there is The Academy Award, a gentle gloomy ballade that shines among the rest of the disco-rock record. Once again, the chord progression is what makes the track more interesting.
Among the deep seductive vocals and the linear chorus of Huck and Jim, criticisms against Theresa May’s position on the health service clearly emerge. But this is not the first time Franz Ferdinand express their political an social opinions through music. For instance, they participated to the Trump-free America campaign in 2016 with their song Demagogue.
Just before the last song, Franz Ferdinand deliver their best track: Feel The Love Go. Drum and synth collaborate to create a remarkable single, which is brilliantly enriched by a saxophone segment.
In conclusion, Always Ascending is an evolution album in which Franz Ferdinand’s sound progresses into something new, while still maintaining some resemblances with their indie rock style.