Franz Ferdinand’s sleaze is a winner

Franz Ferdinand
“Tonight: Franz Ferdinand”
4 stars out of 5

It has been quite some time since Glasgow’s favorite disco-punks have released a record (October 2005, to be exact), and Franz Ferdinand was clearly growing restless with their blueprint. But rather than start over again, Alex Kapranos and company merely updated the formula, maintaining the style and sleaze that had made tracks like “Take Me Out” so appealing in the past.

True to its name, “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” is a record whose sound is entwined with the nighttime hours – telling tales of Britain’s dance clubs and all the associated drinking and carousing. On this third attempt, the quartet embraces their dance influences more than ever before, peaking on the eight-minute electro-romp “Lucid Dreams.”

The only problem is that the original, traditional dance-punk incarnation of that song had the potential to outdo any previous song in the band’s catalog. Despite this and a weak sequence of closing numbers, lively cuts on the album’s first side do their part to highlight this very interesting chapter in the development of Scotland’s foremost rock outfit.

Key Tracks: “No You Girls,” “Send Him Away,” “Ulysses”

A.C. Newman
“Get Guilty”
3.5 stars out of 5

A.C. Newman might not be a household name, but as the frontman of “The New Pornographers,” he is one of the finest indie-pop songwriters around.

He is also a busy man, releasing two Pornographers albums in the five-year span between his first solo album and “Get Guilty.”

This album is as good a collection as you would expect, offering a batch of finely crafted tunes. However, not every song here is a standout and a number of songs either feel as if they could have been cut, or at least trimmed.

Newman’s music is difficult to resist, especially when he gets the support of friends like “Mates of State” and Nichole Atkins on backing vocals.

There’s a sense of grandeur on the album that comes from Newman’s songwriting and allows the listener to ignore the weaknesses of the record. All those emotional crescendos can get a bit tiresome (the refrain on “All My Days And All My Days Off” is seemingly endless), but when it all comes together, the power of the music is hard to ignore.

Key Tracks: “The Changeling (Get Guilty),” “The Palace at 4 a.m.”