"Always Ascending" is the fifth studio album by Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand. It was released on 9 February 2018 through the Domino Recording Company. It is the band's first non-collaborative album in over four years, following Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (2013). It is also their first album to feature new member Julian Corrie, who joined shortly after the departure of Nick McCarthy.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 15 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand exploded onto the music scene with their global hit "Take Me Out" in 2004. In the 14 years since, they've released three albums, lost some popularity, and even lost founding member and keyboardist/guitarist Nick McCarthy. But what the remaining members haven't lost is their appetite for creating energetic and dynamic rock that fits as comfortably on the dance floor as it does in the rock arena.
Featuring inspirations from '70s disco beats and the synth rock of '80s New Wave, Always Ascending is decidedly a dance pop album first and a rock album second. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Yet it's not just hovering in the past either. These inspirations are modernized via a clever mingling with the vibrant swagger the band is known for. Reminding us why we liked them so much in the first place.
The only reason Always Ascending does not rate a perfect 10 is because of a couple of David's amongst the Goliaths. Two slower, more contemplative tracks that don't work as well, but don't qualify as clunkers either. Always Ascending is definitely an early contender for best of 2018 lists. Author rating: 8/10
Reviewed by Matt the Raven for undertheradarmag.com.