Franz Ferdinand

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

 

It's been four years since Franz Ferdinand released an album, and a full eight since the Scottish dance-rock foursome, named after the Austrian archduke whose assassination triggered World War I, sounded as vigorous and as entertaining as they do on RT, RW, RA.

 

When last heard from, on 2009's sluggish Tonight, torpor was setting in. But this time around, FF are clearly on again, making music for all the correct reasons. The guitars are razor-sharp, and locomoting tunes like "Treason! Animals" sport jagged grooves and lacerating self-criticism. "I'm in love with a narcissist," Alex Kapranos sings as he gazes into a mirror of self-awareness. Add a previously undiscovered knack for melody to go with the band's trademark rhythmic flair, and this album amounts to a stylishly energetic comeback of the first order.

--Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer

A$AP Ferg

Trap Lord

 

A$AP Rocky is the leader of the weirdly swaggering, Southern-inspired A$AP Mob. He's the Frank Sinatra of their Rat Pack. But the chairman of the board, the hip-hopping Dean Martin of Mob, is A$AP Ferg, a formidable, salesworthy (especially on tracks such as "Work") equal whose style balances the Rock's spite-and-sweat-filled provocations.

Ferg, a debonair but diabolical Harlem rapper, is certainly as bugged out, boastful, and darkly frank as Rocky. "Cocaine Castle" is a deliciously evil anthem of greed, gall, and avarice. But on tunes such as "Murda Something" and "Shabba," there's a salty, old-school, thug romanticism to what Ferg does (to say nothing of his throaty voice) that's vaguely reminiscent of Notorious B.I.G. There's also more variety in soundscape and rhythm, and more lyrical depth, in Ferg's work than in anything the A$AP camp has done. While A$AP's Southern soul-hop roots come on strong in "Make a Scene," Ferg shows he's a fan of lush melody and cool chorales when he teams with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony for the most epic track on the album, "Lord."

-- A.D. Amorosi, The Philadelphia Inquirer