Release Date: Jun 2, 2009
Record label: Epic
Releasing a dub album isn't exactly the likeliest of moves for Franz Ferdinand, but that's exactly why Blood is such a refreshing departure. Released less than half a year later than the group's third album, Tonight, Blood renames and reconfigures Tonight's songs in a way that's more sonically and conceptually interesting than typical remixes. Even at its best, Tonight tended to feel too careful, but if that album was a meticulously filled-in coloring book, then Blood is an abstract watercolor: spacious, free-flowing, and hypnotic.
Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos' vocals are often wry snapshots of hedonistic nights spent with mysterious, mercurial women. It's an example, perhaps, of a globetrotting pop star singing about what he knows (his food writing doesn't translate into three-minute singles quite as well). But the band isn't nearly as risky, uninhibited, and freewheeling when it comes to its own music.
The question that can’t help but come to mind when trying to evaluate Franz Ferdinand’s so-called “second album of 2009” is this: Why? Why re-release a five-month-old pseudo-remix album on its own when these versions of songs from third album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand have been kicking around as long as the album proper? Why market it as a new album when the band itself didn’t play a single new note in getting it created? Why ruin the exclusive nature of the treat that the Franz’s biggest fans got when they decided to spring for one of the multi-disc versions of the album when it was released? Part of the answer may lie in the content of Tonight: Franz Ferdinand—namely, despite a few new twists and turns with the instrumentation, despite its description as a “concept album”, and despite the rumors of a new, dub-oriented sound from the band, Tonight still sounds remarkably like Franz Ferdinand. Or, at least, it sounds like what we think of when we think of Franz Ferdinand. It’s like looking at old photos of the first time you danced to “Take Me Out” and “Dark of the Matinée”, an experience that brings on the rush of the good times, even if you had remembered them a bit different before you saw the pictures.