When Rolling Stone checked in with Franz Ferdinand last December, the band was testing out new material at small overseas shows and heading in a direction that was more dance than rock. Now the band's frontman, Alex Kapranos, tells us their long-awaited third album may be released in January. "The album is finished but there is a little bit of mixing left, a lot of which is being done by Mike Fraser who's known for doing a lot of heavier rock stuff like Aerosmith and AC/DC," Kapranos says. "All those sweaty little gigs really helped shape the character of this record a lot and we might even do some more of those smaller shows in America because they were really enjoyable for us."
Dispelling rumors that the album would have a strong Afrobeat influence, Kapranos says, "Over the last two years, I've avoided talking to the press because I don't really want people to know what we're up to. So as a result, any comments that we've made seem to have been exaggerated. I love a lot of the Ethiopian stuff out there, but the record doesn't sound Afro-beat in the slightest."
So how would he describe it? "It's actually quite a sinister record in terms of mood but what I've been searching for on this record is that really naive energy you have has a kid when you hear music and you can't control your body's reaction to it — you can't help flinging yourself around the room and bouncing up and down on your mattress and literally bouncing off the wall. It's that youthful optimism we've been seeking out."
Kapranos says "Lucid Dreams" started off sounding like a classic FF tune, but "now it's probably the most far out of all the songs." And it's possible that the album will include two different versions of "Katherine Kiss Me," a song that "plays on the idea of how we choose to remember events in our life — so one version is the memory and the other is the way it actually happened." And Kapranos calls "Ulysses" "quite an odd one," adding, "It's got the immediacy of a pop song but it's an abstract construction too. Having the immediacy of pop without the conventions of pop is something that we still aim for."