Forget everything you think you know about Franz Ferdinand. Always Ascending is nothing short of a rebirth. The album’s ten songs are a triumphant recasting of one of our favourite groups, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation.
“We wanted this to sound like nothing we made before,” said the band and after listening to the first moments of the title track it’s obvious that’s what they’ve accomplished.
These ambitious visions can be heard throughout Always Ascending: from the title track’s Penrose Stairs aural illusion constantly rising chord progression, to the “Trap Sabbath via Slackers” of 'Huck and Jim'; the barely-glimpsed backstory that could have been from a William Trevor story in ‘Lois Lane’, to the Tehching Hsieh-inspired 'Paper Cages', the five to the floor odd-count dance beat of ‘Lazy Boy’, to the heartbreaking ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’.
For all its philosophical conceits, however, it is a visceral experience. It’s intended to hit you in the heart before the brain. These are the sounds of the Parisian night, the exhilaration of an Italian car racing down the autobahn; a feeling of euphoria so pure it could only exist on a knife’s edge, occasionally gliding into euphoric heartcreak.
They wanted this record to sound like no other you’ve heard, never mind any other Franz Ferdinand record. Here it is. Stick it on. Think “What the fuck is that… I LOVE it!”