Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending

It's a disco-pop album, but even at its dumbest there's always something to hold the attention

Grade: A

Yay, people with a modicum of wit. They come along so very rarely these days. A decade on and that punky, guitar-driven power-pop funk has long since been expunged. Singer Alex Kapranos expressed a wish for Franz Ferdinand to reinvent themselves — and has turned to the same source inspiration as did their recent collaborators Sparks when they, too, needed a swift reboot at the end of the 1970s: Giorgio Moroder. But Kapranos and co. have laced those metronomic German beats with camp glamour and swirling, unpredictable melodies — and, of course, the frequent touch of Bowie.

This is a disco-pop album. But even at its dumbest — on ‘Finally’ and ‘Huck and Jim’ — there is always something to hold the attention, an unexpected hook or an outré chord change. I’m not sure if this makes them, as Kapranos apparently wishes, ‘subversive’, but it does make them a very good pop group. I listened to ‘Lois Lane’ five times over and still haven’t got bored and the songs that bookend the album — the title track and the beautiful ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’ — take disco and make it rather glorious and anthemic.

Unlock unlimited access, free for a month

then subscribe from as little as £1 a week after that

It all reminds me a little of the second album from Garbage, which is a tad unfair, because FF are not quite so determinedly cold-blooded.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in