Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending album review

Fifth album is a clever, polished pop gem

Cover art for Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending album

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It’s good. It’s clean. It’s proper. In other words, Always Ascending is full of proper (1970s) tunes and (1980s) hooks and proper (1990s) beautiful repetition and affectionate little steals from fellow Scots Altered Images (‘You could be happy’ on the livewire Lois Lane). And, as ever, the songs are full of proper nervy little couplets from Alex Kapranos (’I enjoy being a lazy boy lying in your bed/Thinking how the lazy boy loves you’ – the whipsmart Lazy Boy).

Always Ascending, FF’s fifth studio album, was recorded in Paris, and has a sound that Kapranos describes as being “futuristic and naturalistic”. Throw in ‘smouldering’ and you’re nearly there. Songs like the immediately loveable Paper Cages and Finally are equal parts LCD Soundsystem, Sparks and cheeky early 80s pop stars Orange Juice. A little bit sleazy and slick, of course, but the accusations of ‘workmanlike’ don’t hold here. Always Ascending is a class act, polished, honed, several cuts above the mewling herd. New guitarist or not, Franz Ferdinand abide.

Everett True

Everett True started life as The Legend!, publishing the fanzine of that name and contributing to NME. Subsequently he wrote for some years for Melody Maker, for whom he wrote seminal pieces about Nirvana and others. He was the co-founder with photographer Steve Gullick of Careless Talk Costs Lives, a deliberately short-lived publication designed to be the antidote to the established UK music magazines.