Franz Ferdinand’s Always Ascending was one of my favorite records of 2018. As its name implies, it provided some much-needed uplift. You can’t underrate the spirit lifting value of some good, snappy, tight rock songs. Franz Ferdinand long ago proved that they’re about as deep as their trouser cuffs are wide. That is, not very. They know their place, and it’s making tight snappy rock songs. It is not at all detracting that all of their songs come from the perspective that when you’re very handsome and dapper there’s nothing in life worth worrying about except the next drink and the next short-term love affair. In fact, it’s charming as fuck, because handsome and dapper boys, even when they’re approaching middle age, shouldn’t have to pretend to be anything deeper than what they are. It worked for Duran Duran.