Franz Ferdinand Owe Heavier Synth/Dance Sound To ... A Velvet Cape?

Frontman Alex Kapranos says band grabbed 'big bank of synthesizers' for yet-untitled third LP.

In the time since Franz Ferdinand's last tour concluded in the fall, the Glaswegian rockers decided to take it easy for a few months before regrouping to craft fresh material for the inevitable album numero tres. The off-time freed up frontman Alex Kapranos to produce a new LP by English trio the Cribs and afforded the rest of Franz some time to compose riffs and beats for the follow-up to 2005's You Could Have It So Much Better.

All rested, Franz Ferdinand are gearing up for their return, which should come early next year in the form of a new album. The boys still need to come up with a title and write six or seven songs for the effort, which they've been working on since January. And, according to Kapranos, no one should expect a drastic shift in the band's trademark get-that-body-movin' sound.

"The new songs have got a much heavier synth/dance kind of element to them," he explained backstage before the band's set last week at this year's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee (see "Bonnaroo Recap: White Stripes, Police, Lily Allen Bring Heat To Already Scorching Fest"). "[Keyboardist and guitarist] Nick [McCarthy] bought himself a new velvet cape and we needed an excuse for him to wear it, so we had to get him a big bank of synthesizers to play."

Kapranos said the band, whose You Could Have It So Much Better was produced by Rich Costey (Muse, Interpol), is in the process of tracking down a producer to helm the next record. Erol Alkan, a London DJ they worked with for a cover of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," is an early front-runner for the gig.

"He's young, and he sees things in a different way than a lot of old-school producers," he explained. "I reckon he'll be the Andy Warhol of our age. He's a good guy."

Recently, Franz Ferdinand have been previewing some of their newest material, playing shows in New York and Glasgow, in addition to last week's Bonnaroo appearance, just to "see how people like the new tunes," Kapranos said. So far, they've finished six tunes, with five more on the verge of completion. The completed tracks are: "Favourite Lie," "Anyone in Love," "Flight of the Galvatron," "A New Thrill," "English Goodbye" and "Turn It On."

" 'Turn It On' is a song about obsession," Kapranos said. "It's like when you talk to someone who's completely obsessed in a maniacal, insane kind of way. People you meet in everyday life, and they talk as though it's completely ordinary to them, this completely crazy obsession they've got — that's the real way you can tell if someone's completely nuts ... when they don't realize they're nuts at all."

"A New Thrill" centers on characters from Truman Capote's 1965 tome, "In Cold Blood," and "it's about how people who are relatively ordinary can get together, and that combination of characters will [make] ordinary people do exceptional things — sometimes exceptionally great things, and sometimes exceptionally evil things," Kapranos said.

"English Goodbye," he explained, "is an expression that's used in Germany." When Kapranos would visit friends in Berlin, "we'd go to these parties that would go on pretty late into the morning, and [someone] would say an English goodbye when he was leaving a party and didn't actually want to say goodbye to somebody. That's because Germans presume that only the English would be rude enough not to say goodbye to people. So, if you're going to say goodbye without actually saying goodbye to someone, that's an English goodbye."

Kapranos projects the forthcoming Franz LP will be done in time for an early 2008 release, completely ruling out the possibility that it'll be in stores this year.