Franz Ferdinand, ‘Always Ascending’ | Track Review
Franz Ferdinand returns with an enigmatic, quirky comeback single, “Always Ascending,” the title-track from fifth studio album arriving in 2018.
In 2018, an alternative rock darling will officially return with their fifth studio album, Always Ascending (February 9, 2018). That darling is Franz Ferdinand, who have released some notable music throughout their career. While they maintained relevancy following their self-titled debut (2003), it remains the most important album of their discography. “Take Me Out” is a certified classic, while the homoerotic “Michael” isn’t too far behind. Look to the future, following a five-year hiatus, Alex Kapranos and company drop the title track, “Always Ascending” months in advance of the album.
“Always Ascending” commences creatively and enigmatically. The first lyrics that appear – “Put your ladder down” – recur a countless number of times. The iterations appear in the background, as Kapranos sings an off-putting, unique intro. Following an unstable, unsettling ride initially, “Always Ascending” gains some stability. A hard-hitting, alternative dance-rock groove anchors the main portion of the song, while Kapranos’ lead vocals grown more assertive and more exuberant.
Listening to “Always Ascending,” there’s a lot to take in. Clocking over five minutes, this is definitely ambitious, which is always a pro. However, with so much going on, it requires the listener to spend some extra time and listens processing it. What Franz Ferdinand do particularly well, however, is the use of repetition, including the aforementioned recurring line, as well as “Never going to resolve,” “Talk to me,” and “Bring me…”
If nothing else, “Always Ascending” is creative, interesting, and quirky. Franz Ferdinand are onto something here, but the question is what? The vibe is a pro throughout, even if it takes a couple of listens to get into the band’s head with this one. The production is noteworthy.