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Always Ascending Image
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length release for the Scottish indie rock band band was produced by Philippe Zdar of Cassius and is the first with Julian Corrie (who took over for Nick McCarthy).
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 80
    Always Ascending is a class act, polished, honed, several cuts above the mewling herd. New guitarist or not, Franz Ferdinand abide.
  2. Always Ascending is, everywhere you look, a record driven by vim, vigour and ideas, and plenty of Kapranos’ idiosyncratic way with a lyric.
  3. Feb 9, 2018
    80
    The Academy Award is a rather too languid ballad that seems to slow down the flow of the album, and closing track Slow Don’t Kill Me Now makes for a weirdly unremarkable and flat end to the record. Overall though, it’s a joy to hear the band sound inspired again, and it’s good to see that, after all these years, Franz Ferdinand are still a force to be reckoned with.
  4. Feb 6, 2018
    70
    Always Ascending may only serve as an incremental progression for Franz Ferdinand, but in departing from their upbeat romps in favor of a more nuanced, philosophical approach, Kapranos and company have reinvigorated their music by reaching for higher ground.
  5. Feb 8, 2018
    69
    The return of synths and disco-ish atmospherics serves, unsurprisingly, to obscure the fact that a nontrivial reinvention still eludes them. But to their credit, Franz Ferdinand are persistently resourceful, and in their theatrical suave and helter-skelter choruses there lingers an obvious knack for starting fires armed only with indie-pop panache.
  6. Feb 1, 2018
    60
    So there’s verve, vigour, and more energy from the slightly revised line-up too, but it isn’t groundbreaking.
  7. Feb 20, 2018
    60
    Like their past work, subpar filler holds the album back. It’s worth joining them for the climb, just know that it’s going to be an uneven ascent.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Feb 9, 2018
    10
    Always Ascending is just another great album of this great band. How could anyone not enyoy these songs? How anyone could not love PaperAlways Ascending is just another great album of this great band. How could anyone not enyoy these songs? How anyone could not love Paper Cages? How anyone could not dancing while listening to Feel the love go? How could anyone dislike it? Great come-back Expand
  2. Feb 13, 2018
    10
    Franz Ferdinand (Awesome as always)Franz Ferdinand (Awesome as always) .................................................................................................................................. Expand
  3. Feb 27, 2018
    9
    I was browsing through my recommendation-feed on spotify and came across the song 'Feel the love go' by Franz Ferdinand and fell in love withI was browsing through my recommendation-feed on spotify and came across the song 'Feel the love go' by Franz Ferdinand and fell in love with the track. This song got me exploring the rest of the band and I found myself loving the mix of guitars and dance-music. So I became excited for their new release 'Always Ascending' and I have to admit: it didn't dissapoint. Let me say: this is a new Franz Ferdinand. This album is more synth and disco heavy than their other releases, with some hints of Take Me out and No You Girls sprinkeld throughout. That is going to make or break the album for you and for me it worked. This album is an relaxed and retro take on an great formula. Always Ascending (the song) builds up to this guitar heavy chorus and has some amazing in between. Lazy Boy feels has this great base-line that makes it such an memorable song and it has an chorus that you just have to dance to. Just listening it right now, makes me bop my head. Paper Cages has a good message and has fun in portraying that in the proces. Finally has this amazing chorus and bridge that just make you feel even more connected to the ones you love. The academy award is a slow nice song in between, that offers a nice recharging point for the rest. Lois Lane , even tough it's my least favorite song on the record, has an amazing last minute. Huck and Jim is this amazing anthem with some different styles woven throughout. Glimpse Of Love has a fun, but shallow, feel to it. It could have been a new No You Girls, but it is fine nontheless. Feel the love go is this brassy disco song wich is just awesome. Slow don't Kill me slow is a great closer and feels like asolid ending.

    The album has this great flow. The songs are similair but different enough to feel new. Just great stuff. Even the weaker tracks have some interesting parts in them.

    Overall Consensus: Always Ascending sees Franz Ferdinand taking some new and fun directions, while keeping the best from their succesful formula
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  4. Feb 18, 2018
    7
    Track-by-track review
    Always Ascending: At the very least, this track is interesting and truly a test of the band's skills in conveying
    Track-by-track review
    Always Ascending: At the very least, this track is interesting and truly a test of the band's skills in conveying different emotions. Once the beat kicks in, this song truly "ascends" to be a catchy Franz Ferdinand song with great electronics as well as their typical rock instrumentation. Albeit, the lyrics are a bit nonsensical in my opinion, and it more or less resembles Talking Heads. (8/10)
    Lazy Boy: Sigh... this just sounds poorly mixed in the beginning if I'm going to be honest, all of the elements are here, but they don't mesh... and Kapranos' performance on this track is questionable (in moments). Then the interesting synth instrumentation disappears... well, I guess this track is called "Lazy Boy" for a reason. (5/10)
    Paper Cages: Kind of sounds like "Shout, shout, let it all out" in the beginning except without the inherent catchiness or memorable instrumentation (the latter however does exist later in the track). It does offer original ideas, and the lyrics are stupidly interesting. After a while, this song manages to overcome its cheesy 80's nostalgia throwbacks and relishes in bouncy synths. (7.5/10)
    Finally: Forgettable, but forgivable. (6.5/10)
    The Academy Award: Dark, that's all you need to know... and it works. Lovely commentary on the Oscars. (9/10)
    Lois Lane: Um... how can I summarize this... "quirky in a not quirky way." There you go. I do like the synth instrumentation though. (4/10)
    Huck and Jim: Well, it offers an interesting start... you know what this album reminds me of... Everything Now by Arcade Fire... this is Franz Ferdinand's version of Everything Now... anyway, this song is fine... it's fine... (6/10)
    Glimpse of Love: I like this one... this one actually sounds like a better tribute to the era than most of the tracks so far. It might also be stuck in my head, so yeah. Good enough track, at least in the context of this album. (8/10)
    Feel the Love Go: Vocals...ugh... the instrumentation really does make up for it if I'm being quite honest. (7/10)
    Slow Don't Kill Me Slow: Kapranos sounds good on this one... but... it's... slow... and... zzz... when the instrumentation is all-together, this track is very good, but it's the verses on this track that are just boring. I'll give credit to the ending for at least being the one moment on this album in which the atmosphere punches through. (7/10)

    Final Score: 68/100 or 6.8/10 or 7 by Metacritic standards...

    This is the Everything Now of 2018 (so far)... albeit better... much better than the actual Everything Now album. Quite frankly, these tracks have good hooks and good choruses, and when the instrumentation and vocals all come together, these tracks are relatively compelling... but it's the absolutely lazy, boringly atmospheric (not the good kind that resulted from the last track), and poorly delivered verses that truly bring this album down and make it actually forgettable despite its off-kilter nature. Anyway, if you're a Franz Ferdinand fan like I am, you will probably survive and maybe even like some of the tracks on this album... but if you want an introduction to this band... this isn't a great start (it's a good one, but I highly doubt you'll want to come back to this afterwards.)
    Expand
  5. Feb 23, 2018
    6
    As a long time fan of Franz Ferdinand, (I believe they were the second gig I ever attended) this album is disappointing. The songwriting isAs a long time fan of Franz Ferdinand, (I believe they were the second gig I ever attended) this album is disappointing. The songwriting is lackluster and the sound of this album comes off as pretentious at times. I found it hard to connect with this album emotionally. All that being said, Alex Kapranos hasn't lost his swagger as a front-man and the album has a variety of moments that are very enjoyable, especially from a technical aspect. Expand
  6. Apr 4, 2018
    5
    This is Franz weakest album to date. I get the aesthetic is cool but the 90's called and they want their eurobeat back.
  7. Feb 10, 2018
    5
    On first hearing Always Ascending {the title track} I thought that the new album would be an exiting departure for the band. Unfortunately theOn first hearing Always Ascending {the title track} I thought that the new album would be an exiting departure for the band. Unfortunately the lead single is the only standout song on the album. Other songs come and go but fail to leave any lasting impression. A bit disappointing. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews