February 5, 2009

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Franz Ferdinand, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Sony Records, Jan. 20

Overall, this year’s Franz Ferdinand isn’t crazily different from the Franz Ferdinand that tendered the alt-rock/radio-pop crossover LP You Could Have It So Much Better back in 2005. True to the buzz that they’ve gone more “techno” this outing, the opening of “Lucid Dreams” is a brown-nosing of the Klaxons, weird woohs making sport of girl groups or whatever Klaxons think they’re doing, but then it descends, like most of the texted-in stuff here, into the slammy Gang of Four guitar-chordage that makes the package the equivalent of Son of You Could Have It So Much Better.

Toward half-good news, “What She Came For” has a thrash-punky washout at the end, while “Can’t Stop the Feeling” sounds like Justice remodeling something from Backstreet Boys. “Dream Again” is color-by-numbers Sgt. Pepper through a Cheap Trick transmogra-whatsis, one of two breaks from all the bouncy alt-rock and Klaxons/Justice/Hot Chip cribbing, not that anyone asked for it, the other being a puzzling (if still bratty in the loutish way we’re used to, and can’t they drop that act for a millisecond?) unplugged-guitar ballad “Kiss Me Katherine,” altogether clear signals that turpitude’s settling in. D+ — E.W.S