As Franz Ferdinand prepare to headline the Concert in the Gardens Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh alongside Metronomy and Free Love, Henry Northmore nds out what the revitalised band have in store for New Year revellers

N ot everything goes to plan. ‘We were supposed to do it about 15 years ago; we were supposed to be the i rst act on before the Coral and then Erasure,’ explains Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos, ‘but there was a massive storm and the whole thing got cancelled. We ended up seeing the bells in playing a gig in somebody’s l at somewhere in Marchmont instead, which was great fun, but I’m very happy to be coming back and playing the party itself.’

Not only are Franz back for 2018’s Hogmanay celebrations but this time they are headlining the Concert in the Gardens. ‘There are so many places you can celebrate New Year in the world but nowhere beats Edinburgh,’ says Kapranos. ‘People always say the way you spend your New Year is an indicator of how you’ll spend the rest of the year. And for me, I’ll be with my band, with my friends and family all about me, back in Scotland, so it feels really good.’

2018 also i nds the band revitalised. Even the title of recent album Always Ascending felt like a statement of intent. Lead single and title track ‘Always Ascending’ is built around a marvellously confusing sonic illusion that feels like it’s constantly building to an elusive climax. Produced by Philippe Zdar, one half of French house duo Cassius (who has also worked with the Rapture, Two Door Cinema Club and Phoenix), the album is a propulsive, slice of indie rock and post-punk, happily embracing disco and pop to its heart.

It’s also the i rst to feature guitarist Dino Bardot and Julian Corrie on keyboards / synths after Nick McCarthy’s departure in 2016. ‘Bands have a personality which is a product of the personalities within them, so fresh blood and a fresh perspective is invigorating and inspiring.’ The change in personnel breathed new life into the band. ‘[Making the record] dei nitely felt like a new era. The last Franz record Right

52 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019