FRANZ FERDINAND play The Kool Haus October 24. See listing. Rating: NNN
Franz Ferdinand’s fourth album is that very rare record that forces the listener to dance around his or her bedroom on first listen. It’s so immediately likeable and unapologetically upbeat, in fact, that it definitively recalls the Glaswegian foursome’s eponymous 2004 debut, which launched them into the post-punk revival of the early to mid-2000s as well as the greater indie rock mainstream.
The overt similarity to that first album is not a bad thing. RTRWRA neatly combines those familiar chantable choruses, punchy guitars, pleasant harmonies and simple, clever lyricism – all in all, a great vehicle for that smooth, too cool croon of singer Alex Kapranos. Over 35 minutes, the album shakes around tempos and moods, whether funky on Evil Eye, brassy on standout Love Illumination or sped up and punky on Bullet. The Universe Expanded dips into mournful breakup territory, emotionally stirring enough to pull you, however briefly, away from the party.
Top track: Love Illumination