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Album Review

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. The thrill of a wild night out and its aftermath still make up Blood's heart — if anything, the highs are higher here than they were on the original versions: "Feel the Pressure" spins "What She Came For" in an even more hedonistic direction, allowing Alex Kapranos' sly vocals to skip over heavy beats and stabbing synths, while "Die on the Floor" is nearly as bold, distilling "Can't Stop Feeling" into a sleek dancefloor filler. Blood's lows are also lower than they were on Tonight, particularly "The Vaguest of Feeling," which sets Kapranos' "Live Alone" vocals adrift in space, intensifying their desolation. And while some of the album's tracks retain their Tonight roots, like "Feeling Kind of Anxious," which is still clearly "Ulysses" albeit with sparer beats and dubby echo, others are almost unrecognizable: "Backwards on My Face"'s keyboard riff is the only clue that the song's vocodered slink used to be "Twilight Omens." "If I Can't Have You Nobody Can" is one of the deepest dub moments, allowing producer Dan Carey (who has also worked with such masters as Lee "Scratch" Perry and Mad Professor) and bassist Bob Hardy free rein to take the track to the outer limits. While not every song is a rousing success, Blood feels fresh and alive — and underscores that Franz Ferdinand should take chances like this more often.


Formed: 2001 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Glasgow's art-damaged rock quartet Franz Ferdinand -- named for the Austro-Hungarian Archduke whose murder sparked World War I -- feature bassist Bob Hardy, guitarist Nick McCarthy, drummer Paul Thomson, and singer/guitarist Alex Kapranos. In late 2001, Kapranos and Hardy had begun working on music together when they met McCarthy, a classically trained pianist and double bass player who originally played drums for the group despite no prior experience as a drummer. The trio had been rehearsing at...
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