Franz Ferdinand Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
After becoming pop superstars the world over with their 2004 debut, Glasgow's Franz Ferdinand promised us we could have it so much better. They made a convincing attempt with their sophomore effort but Tonight raises some questions. Written to document a night of debauchery, Franz Ferdinand's third album finds them trying to re-establish themselves after more than three years away. First single and opener "Ulysses" is a sexy creeper heightened by inclining synths that does its job, suggesting we get "hiiiiigh." Though similar in energy to their dynamic debut, but with some added muscle thanks to a heftier dose of Moroder-ish synth flourishes, Franz are short on the hooks that made "Take Me Out" and "Michael" hits. This results in a run of superfluous songs that make you question why you waited three years for this. But then a funny thing happens in the final third of the album: "Lucid Dreams" morphs into bubbling techno, showing the album's first real inventive expression. Right after, they trip out to dub on the best song, the placidly cool "Dream Again," before ending on the endearingly acoustic "Katherine Kiss Me." The multiplicity of the album's final act demonstrates Franz Ferdinand have the ideas; it's just a shame it took them nine songs to demonstrate it. (Domino/Sony)