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Alternative & Indie - Released February 16, 2004 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Lauréat du Mercury Prize
While the Darts of Pleasure EP proved that Franz Ferdinand had a way with equally sharp lyrics and hooks, and the "Take Me Out" single took their sound to dramatic new heights, their self-titled debut album offers the most expansive version of their music yet. From the first track, "Jacqueline," which begins with a brooding acoustic prelude before jumping into a violently vibrant celebration of hedonism, Franz Ferdinand is darker and more diverse than the band's previous work suggested. "Auf Ausche" has an unsettling aggression underneath its romantic yearning, its cheap synth strings and pianos underscoring its low-rent moodiness and ruined glamour. And even in the album's context, "Take Me Out" remains unmatched for sheer drama; with its relentless stomp and lyrics like "I'm just a cross hair/I'm just a shot away from you," it's deliciously unclear whether it's about meeting a date or a firing squad. The wonderfully dry wit the band employed on Darts of Pleasure's "Shopping for Blood" and "Van Tango" is used more subtly: the oddly radiant "Matinee" captures romantic escapism via dizzying wordplay. "Michael," meanwhile, is a post-post-punk "John, I'm Only Dancing," by equal turns macho and fey; when Alex Kapranos proclaims "This is what I am/I am a man/So come and dance with me, Michael," it's erotic as well as homoerotic. Love and lust make up a far greater portion of Franz Ferdinand than any of the band's other work; previously, Franz Ferdinand's strong suit was witty aggressiveness, and the shift in focus has mixed results. There's something a little too manic and unsettled about Franz Ferdinand to make them completely convincing romantics, but "Come On Home" has swooning, anthemic choruses guaranteed to melt even those who hate swooning, anthemic choruses. Fortunately, the album includes enough of their louder, crazier songs to please fans of their EPs. "Darts of Pleasure" remains one of the best expressions of Franz Ferdinand's shabby glamour, campy humor, and sugar-buzz energy, and "Tell Her Tonight," which debuted on the Darts of Pleasure EP, returns in a full-fledged version that's even more slinky, menacing, and danceable than the demo hinted it might be. And if Franz Ferdinand's aim has always been to get people dancing, then "Cheating on You"'s churned-up art punk and close, Merseybeat-like harmonies suggest some combination of slam dancing and the twist that could sweep dancefloors. Despite its slight unevenness, Franz Ferdinand ends up being rewarding in different ways than the band's previous work was, and it's apparent that they're one of the more exciting groups to come out of the garage rock/post-punk revival. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 26, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk - Hi-Res Audio
Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is the album Franz Ferdinand should have made after their self-titled debut. Not that You Could Have It So Much Better and Tonight didn't have their charms; the former showed there was more breadth and depth to their music than might have been expected, while the latter delved into dub and disco with intriguing, if somewhat unfocused results. Still, neither album had Franz Ferdinand's impact. On Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action, it often feels like the band channeled the energy they used to spend on expanding their sound into making this the most concentrated burst of what attracted fans to them in the first place. "Right Action" sets the tone, seemingly curbing the experimental tendencies of Franz's past two albums in favor of angular guitars and alternately snazzy and sleazy brass. Like most of the band's best songs, there's a slightly meta quality to its tale of getting back into a lover's -- or listener's -- good graces, but instead of offering apologies, Alex Kapranos and company launch a charm offensive (later, Kapranos beckons a lover to cross the North Sea with a gorgeous Owen Pallett-string arrangement on "Stand on the Horizon"). "Right Action" is undeniably catchy -- it might even be the band's most immediate single since the song that started it all, "Take Me Out" -- yet the sly sitars on its bridge show that Franz Ferdinand have learned to use their left-of-center ideas as embellishments rather than the focus. Honed to a ten-song-length tailor-made for repeat listening, Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is even tighter and more toe-tapping than Franz Ferdinand. Some songs feel like direct descendants of the band's debut: "Evil Eye" gives the gut-punching beats of "Take Me Out" a campy twist with mischievous keyboards destined to make it the coolest song on the Halloween party playlist. "Bullet" is a kissing cousin to "Cheating on You"'s breezily cruel pop, though it's important to note that despite leaving, Kapranos just can't get his beloved out of his head. This kind of emotional complexity -- not to mention the fun the band sound like they're having -- saves the album from being a too-calculated return to Franz' glory days. Even the brashest moments, like "Treason! Animals." and "Love Illumination" are uneasy at the core, and there's a surprising amount of poetic beauty to the love-in-reverse song "The Universe Expanded" as well as "Fresh Strawberries" and "Brief Encounters," all of which explore how important it is to seize and enjoy the moment -- something the band does with style and heart throughout the album. Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is a welcome return, fusing a crowd-pleasing sound with some of Franz Ferdinand's most interesting songwriting. Track for track, it may very well be the group's most satisfying album yet. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 26, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk - Hi-Res Audio
Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is the album Franz Ferdinand should have made after their self-titled debut. Not that You Could Have It So Much Better and Tonight didn't have their charms; the former showed there was more breadth and depth to their music than might have been expected, while the latter delved into dub and disco with intriguing, if somewhat unfocused results. Still, neither album had Franz Ferdinand's impact. On Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action, it often feels like the band channeled the energy they used to spend on expanding their sound into making this the most concentrated burst of what attracted fans to them in the first place. "Right Action" sets the tone, seemingly curbing the experimental tendencies of Franz's past two albums in favor of angular guitars and alternately snazzy and sleazy brass. Like most of the band's best songs, there's a slightly meta quality to its tale of getting back into a lover's -- or listener's -- good graces, but instead of offering apologies, Alex Kapranos and company launch a charm offensive (later, Kapranos beckons a lover to cross the North Sea with a gorgeous Owen Pallett-string arrangement on "Stand on the Horizon"). "Right Action" is undeniably catchy -- it might even be the band's most immediate single since the song that started it all, "Take Me Out" -- yet the sly sitars on its bridge show that Franz Ferdinand have learned to use their left-of-center ideas as embellishments rather than the focus. Honed to a ten-song-length tailor-made for repeat listening, Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is even tighter and more toe-tapping than Franz Ferdinand. Some songs feel like direct descendants of the band's debut: "Evil Eye" gives the gut-punching beats of "Take Me Out" a campy twist with mischievous keyboards destined to make it the coolest song on the Halloween party playlist. "Bullet" is a kissing cousin to "Cheating on You"'s breezily cruel pop, though it's important to note that despite leaving, Kapranos just can't get his beloved out of his head. This kind of emotional complexity -- not to mention the fun the band sound like they're having -- saves the album from being a too-calculated return to Franz' glory days. Even the brashest moments, like "Treason! Animals." and "Love Illumination" are uneasy at the core, and there's a surprising amount of poetic beauty to the love-in-reverse song "The Universe Expanded" as well as "Fresh Strawberries" and "Brief Encounters," all of which explore how important it is to seize and enjoy the moment -- something the band does with style and heart throughout the album. Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is a welcome return, fusing a crowd-pleasing sound with some of Franz Ferdinand's most interesting songwriting. Track for track, it may very well be the group's most satisfying album yet. ~ Heather Phares

Alternative & Indie - Released August 26, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 26, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 9, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Booklet
Peroxide blonde hair, dark eyeshadow, dark suits, and something of a casting change. It's a whole new Franz Ferdinand. The charismatic Nick McCarthy chose to jump ship to concentrate on his own vessel. Undoing a ten-year symbiosis, Alex Kapranos and bassist Bob Hardy had to find a new guitarist. Without any loss of identity, the Swiss army knife sounds of Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux, Maple Leaves) and Dino Bardot gave the Scottish group a new lease of life. And as soon as the dust settled – the album being finished – Corrie's synth-pop blend found a new home. Recorded over six days in Paris, in the studios of Philippe Zdar, one half of Cassius but also the producer of the Beastie Boys, Cat Power, Phoenix and The Rapture, the well-named Always Ascending has a good-time feel to it. Flirty keyboards with an electro-rock feel perfect for clubs (like the sure-fire hits Feel The Love Go and Always Ascending) give the quartet-cum-quintet a second wind. Inspiration came in 2014 with FFS, which brought them together with their idols and high priests of pop, the Maël brothers, alias Sparks. Five years went by, and the time came for Kapranos's band to concentrate once again on Franz Ferdinand. From standard hit material (Loïc Lane, Lazy Boy) to vague accents of disco in Glimpse Of Love by way of the ballads The Academy Award and Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow, – two contemplative moments amidst this furious medley – this fifth work cements their status as one of Scotland's most important groups. © CS/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 3, 2005 | Domino Recording Co

Opting not to fix what broke them, You Could Have It So Much Better serves up more of the stylish, angular sound that worked so well on Franz Ferdinand's debut. After years of rehearsing in abandoned Glasgow warehouses and playing in relatively obscure groups like the Yummy Fur, it's perfectly understandable why the band chose not to mess with a good thing -- and why they chose to follow up the breakthrough success of Franz Ferdinand so quickly. But, after a year and a half of near-instant acclaim and constant touring, Franz Ferdinand return with songs that just aren't as consistently good as the album that made them so successful in the first place. A lot of You Could Have It So Much Better feels like a super-stylized caricature of the band's sound, with exaggeratedly spiky guitars, brooding crooning, and punky-yet-danceable beats. This isn't an entirely bad thing: "The Fallen" begins the album with a wicked, gleeful welcome back that embraces the jaunty mischief running through most of Franz Ferdinand's best moments, while "I'm Your Villain" effortlessly nails the darkly sexy vibe they strived for on Franz Ferdinand. Meanwhile, the famous friends, arty parties, and "shocking" homoeroticism of "Do You Want To" -- which feels more like a victory lap than a comeback single -- play like knowing, tongue-in-cheek self-parody. However, too many tracks on You Could Have It So Much Better are witty and energetic in the moment but aren't especially memorable. "You're the Reason I'm Leaving," "What You Meant," "This Boy," and the oddly anti-climactic finale, "Outsiders," are Franz-lite -- not at all bad, but not as good as even their early B-sides and certainly not up to the level of "Take Me Out." What helps save the album from being completely predictable are slower moments like the pretty, jangly "Walk Away" and atmospheric, piano-driven songs such as "Fade Together" (which really should've been the final track). Best of all is "Eleanor Put Your Boots On," a gorgeous, Beatlesque ballad that suggests that if Franz Ferdinand have songs this good in them, they're selling themselves, and their fans, short with most of the songs here (you could have it so much better, indeed). Not so much a sophomore slump as a rushed follow-up, You Could Have It So Much Better probably would've been better if Franz Ferdinand had waited until they had a batch of songs as consistent as their first album, but as it stands, it's still pretty good. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 27, 2009 | Domino Recording Co

"I found a new way, baby," Alex Kapranos snarls on "Ulysses," Tonight's lead single and opening track, and he's almost right. Franz Ferdinand took awhile to record this album after releasing You Could Have It So Much Better as quickly as possible after their breakthrough debut, spending a couple of years coming up with the concept of a "dirty pop" album and trying out dance and pop producers like Erol Alkan and Girls Aloud sound-shapers Xenomania before settling on Dan Carey, who has worked with everyone from CSS to Kylie Minogue. The group tried hard to make these songs a deliberate break from their previous music, and the album is nothing if not deliberate: a concept album about a debauched night out and the morning after, Tonight is more focused than You Could Have It So Much Better, and on the surface, it sounds different than what came before. The band's normally de rigueur angular post-punk guitars are dialed down in favor of beats, bass, and lots of keyboards, all of which are on display on "Ulysses," which, like You Could Have It So Much Better's "Do You Want To?," initially sounds like an odd single choice, then makes perfect sense after a few listens. Kapranos whispers like a devil on your shoulder as the band takes its time building to disco-punk euphoria. Throughout the rest of album, however, Franz Ferdinand alternates between putting their rave-ups in slightly different skins and taking some real chances with their music. With the most familiar-sounding songs at the top, Tonight's song sequencing might be the most pop thing about it: "Turn It On"'s stop-start rhythms,"Send Him Away"'s Afro-pop-tinged guitars, and "Can't Stop Feeling"'s DFA-like percussion and fuzzy synths are minor refinements on the sound the band has used since Franz Ferdinand. A few songs transcend templates, like the unrepentantly rakish swagger of "No You Girls," which boasts saucy lyrics like "kiss me where your eye won't meet me" and a cleverly twisting chorus that expresses the album's theme of smart enough to know better hedonism perfectly. "Live Alone"'s disco-fied push-pull between solitude and intimacy makes ambivalence exciting, and "Bite Hard"'s punchy drums are the sound of dancing on your conscience's grave. The band saves Tonight's most interesting songs for last: "Lucid Dreams" is oddly dark and jubilant, setting its fantasies to one of the album's boldest arrangements -- whether or not the way it trails off on a four-minute jam is successful is a matter of taste, but it's a welcome risk on an album that often feels safe despite its attempts to shake things up. Likewise, the way the acoustic closer "Katherine Kiss Me" transforms "No You Girls"' raw nighttime demands into wry daytime flirtation is so clever that it makes the rest of Tonight all the more puzzling -- it's often catchy and kinetic in the moment, yet it still feels like Franz Ferdinand has the potential to do more with their music than just slightly tweak and polish a sound they established several albums ago. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 12, 2004 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 25, 2017 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 25, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 9, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 24, 2005 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 15, 2009 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 25, 2009 | Domino Recording Co

Releasing a dub album isn't exactly the likeliest of moves for Franz Ferdinand, but that's exactly why Blood is such a refreshing departure. Released less than half a year later than the group's third album, Tonight, Blood renames and reconfigures Tonight's songs in a way that's more sonically and conceptually interesting than typical remixes. Even at its best, Tonight tended to feel too careful, but if that album was a meticulously filled-in coloring book, then Blood is an abstract watercolor: spacious, free-flowing, and hypnotic. The thrill of a wild night out and its aftermath still make up Blood's heart -- if anything, the highs are higher here than they were on the original versions: "Feel the Pressure" spins "What She Came For" in an even more hedonistic direction, allowing Alex Kapranos' sly vocals to skip over heavy beats and stabbing synths, while "Die on the Floor" is nearly as bold, distilling "Can't Stop Feeling" into a sleek dancefloor filler. Blood's lows are also lower than they were on Tonight, particularly "The Vaguest of Feeling," which sets Kapranos' "Live Alone" vocals adrift in space, intensifying their desolation. And while some of the album's tracks retain their Tonight roots, like "Feeling Kind of Anxious," which is still clearly "Ulysses" albeit with sparer beats and dubby echo, others are almost unrecognizable: "Backwards on My Face"'s keyboard riff is the only clue that the song's vocodered slink used to be "Twilight Omens." "If I Can't Have You Nobody Can" is one of the deepest dub moments, allowing producer Dan Carey (who has also worked with such masters as Lee "Scratch" Perry and Mad Professor) and bassist Bob Hardy free rein to take the track to the outer limits. While not every song is a rousing success, Blood feels fresh and alive -- and underscores that Franz Ferdinand should take chances like this more often. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 28, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 20, 2009 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 6, 2005 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 7, 2014 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 17, 2006 | Domino Recording Co