Sound: Much of the same disco dance punk we’ve come to expect from the hedonistic, arty Scots. However, this time around they’ve tweaked their highly infectious formula a little bit – fewer spiky guitars, lots more synth (whether fuzzy, robotic, majestic or twinkling) and occasionally a trippier, psychedelic vibe. Tonight is made up of predominately party jams with a couple exceptions – “Bite Hard” starts with a vocal/piano meditation that sounds like something from a Paul McCartney solo album, and the last two tracks mellow out considerably, particularly the acoustic guitar ditty finale “Katherine Kiss Me.”
Look For: Track 10 “Lucid Dreams” is a restructured and significantly longer version of the song that appeared on the Madden ’09 video game soundtrack – which was released last August. If you buy this album on iTunes, you can get that soundtrack version as a bonus track. But I think it’s unfortunate the original version wasn’t officially included on Tonight. It was excellent – classic, snappy, sweat-inducing Franz Ferdinand – whereas the new album version is too long and not nearly as catchy. I’m all for mixing it up and delivering and extended electro club version, as long as the music progresses throughout. But this new, extended version turns into unnecessary, directionless noodling.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “No You Girls”; “What She Came For”
Medium Rotation tracks: “Dream Again”; “Ulysses”; “Bite Hard”; “Lucid Dreams (Album Version)”; “Twilight Omens”; “Can’t Stop Feeling”
Recommended: Tonight introduces a few fresh sounds and textures into the Franz Ferdinand catalogue and is a decent improvement over their previous album, 2005’s You Could Have It So Much Better. But it certainly ranks a couple of notches below their stellar self-titled debut (my #2 album of 2004).
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2009 Candidate)