26 September 2023

Hits To The Head

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Franz Ferdinand, Domino Recording Co 2022.

This album is just what every Franz Ferdinand fan needs: A best of FF. 20 tracks of pure energy and joy lasting one hour, nine minutes.

What more could you possibly want?

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard any new music from FF.

The last album I reviewed from them was the brilliant collaboration with Sparks, simply titled FFS, which was released in 2015.

That album is still one of my favourites and regularly gets an airing at our frequent extended family gatherings.

Hits To The Head covers all the singles released by FF over the last 20 years in either a stream, two LP, or CD format and the compilation also includes two new tracks.

Franz Ferdinand are masters of the alternative punk/pop genres with tracks like This Fire being fantastic punk anthems.

The repeated chorus “This fire is out of control we’re gonna burn this city, burn this city” drips with punk vibrancy and aggro.

They really are bowerbirds and a natural progression of the zanier elements from Roxy Music, early 10CC, with bits of Split Endz thrown in for good measure.

Their musical approach is very rhythmical; heavy on the bass and loaded with classy hooks that, once they snag you, don’t let go.

It’s cerebral music that is beautifully constructed.

Their use of space is remarkable. Tracks build to mini crescendos, then leave us dangling before dragging us back in as the rhythm-train returns.

Every time I listen to Franz Ferdinand I find myself analysing what they’re doing. It must be the musician in me.

Studying their music is like a constant masterclass in song construction.

Each track on this album is a masterpiece in precise and sharp pop.

There is no fluff, no waffle, no meaningless filler, no pointless meanders. There’s a dearth of cliché and pretention.

It’s not easy to achieve this but FF have the skill to turn out a seemingly endless stream of remarkably catchy and inventive songs.

Time has not diminished their skills, instead with each outing they constantly surprise.

To quote a cliché that they’d certainly avoid, they’re like a well that never runs dry.

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