Review: Jack Foley
FRANZ Ferdinand appear to be everywhere at the moment. Certainly
the vibe surrounding them hasnt been attached to a band
quite so vociferously since the emergence of The Strokes.
They are the leading lights of the new British movement, the
ones to watch for 2004, and one of the most talented acts to emerge
from Scotland in recent years. New single, Take Me Out,
debuted at number three in the charts, which is already being
hailed as a colossal achievement.
Certainly, the bands meteoric rise possesses many similarities
with that of their New York counterparts, and could even be confused
as standard post-Strokes indie-rock, with all the usual agitated
guitars and strained vocals that comes with that type of thing.
Certainly, their debut album possesses all the hallmarks of the
retro movement, evoking comparisons with the New York music scene,
as well as 80s luminaries, such as The Cure, The Smiths and Talking
Yet to dismiss it merely as such would be doing it a disservice,
even though the euphoria surrounding it still seems a little misplaced.
The eponymous album is, unquestionably, a good release, marking
a strong, accomplished debut, and providing plenty to suggest
that Franz Ferdinand are here to stay.
Yet there is a familiarity about it which also makes it too easy
to compare it to others, which means Franz Ferdinand may need
to work harder, in the future, to escape such conformist tags.
On its own, the album is a good listen. Take Me Out is
certainly a good indication of what to expect, particularly with
the guitar sound, but it is by no means just what the album is
Auf Achse, for instance, weaves a classical backdrop into
the indie guitars (vaguely reminiscent of Trevor Jones and Randy
Edelmans score for Last of the Mohicans), which hints at
a more epic approach to songwriting which is more akin to Muse
than The Strokes, while This Fires vocals could take
their inspiration from Jim Morrison and The Doors, rather than
anything with an 80s feel.
The noticeable shifts in tempo ensure that listeners are kept
on their toes, with slow-builders, such as Jacqueline,
mixing well with the furious strands of The Dark of the Matinee.
And the subject matter is daring, too, with one song, in particular,
hinting at a gay romance not usually associated with this genre
Whats more, the band appears to have bridged that gap between
indie-pop pretentiousness and popular accessibility, as exemplified
by their chart success, thus far.
It is intelligent, and it does possess an arty vibe at times,
but its also capable of delivering that quick fix of harmonious
melody that the record-buying public occasionally seems to crave,
when they decide to get hip for a while.
For this reason alone, the debut album deserves to be a success,
but then arriving off the back of Take Me Outs success,
thats probably never in doubt. It certainly gets our recommendation,
even if we dont become too gushing in the process.
This lays the groundwork, but you feel the best is yet to come.
2. Tell Her Tonight
3. Take Me Out
4. The Dark Of The Matinee
5. Auf Achse
6. Cheating On You
7. This Fire
8. Darts Of Pleasure
10. Come On Home
11. 40 Ft