Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

The Baltimore Sun

Franz Ferdinand [Domino] ***

Franz Ferdinand might be the only rock band going that can make a tawdry little pickup line like "Kiss me where your eye won't meet me" into a recurring lyric that shows up in a wan acoustic ballad.

The tension between eager warehouse-party groping and front man Alex Kapranos' cold shoulders is Franz Ferdinand's bread and butter, but it's never been more clear than on Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the Scottish quartet's third LP.

Tonight is the band's danciest record yet, but it's the kind of dancing you do after running into an ex at a club and need to prove you're having fun.

"No You Girls," the band's best song since "Take Me Out," gets huge mileage from its swaggering chorus call of "You girls never know how you make a boy feel," and lead single "Ulysses" uses some nasty Moog stones to underscore walk-of-shame sentiments.

Those waiting for Franz to become the post-punk Bee Gees will lap up disco cuts like "Live Alone," but there's just enough sulkiness to last a solitary ride home.

"I never resort to kiss-ing your photo," Kapranos sings on "Bite Hard." "I just had to see how the chemicals taste." A bit sour, maybe, but alluring all the same.

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