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Franz Ferdinand - 'Ulysses'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:26 UK time, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Franz FerdinandIt says something about just how narrow-minded and conservative the indie mindset can be when it still counts as revolutionary for a guitar band to consider using synthesizers as a way of pepping up their new songs. And not in a Crystal Castles art terrorist kind of way either. No these are just your common or garden pop synths, of the sort you might hear on the songs of 'manufactured' 'pop' 'puppets' like the Sugababes or something.

Not that it's a bad idea - synths are brilliant, just like guitars are brilliant - it's just the hyperbole that comes with it that's bizarre. Franz get the credit for being forward-thinking pop boffins, just for thinking outside of a ridiculously small box. A box which only exists within the pages of the NME, and even then, only for fans of a certain type of band.

As self-reinvention goes, it's hardly David Bowie, now is it?

That said, it should not be forgotten that the Ferds were responsible for two of the greatest upsets in indie fan thinking of the past 10 years, namely:

1: Having fun is not the same as being shallow.

2: Creating music which girls can dance to is not the same as selling your soul to the devil.

And for these alone, we should be eternally grateful.

'Ulysses' is a stark, odd little thing, though. It's a smidge too slow to blow the roof off, and far too slinky to really get to grips with. But it gets by on charm, seductive whispers and gentle purrs, staying up far too late, and regarding the world through bleary eyes, unless provoked into a ferocious howl.

In short, it is the audio equivalent of a randy old tom cat, driven by primal urges which are as alien to 8 out of 10 indie kids as the concept of getting a rapper to headline a festival.

What? They did that already? Yikes!

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: January 19th


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