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Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand


Review: Jack Foley

FRANZ Ferdinand appear to be everywhere at the moment. Certainly the vibe surrounding them hasn’t 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 band’s 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 Heads.

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 about.

Auf Achse, for instance, weaves a classical backdrop into the indie guitars (vaguely reminiscent of Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman’s 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 Fire’s 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 of music.

What’s 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 it’s 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 Out’s success, that’s probably never in doubt. It certainly gets our recommendation, even if we don’t become too gushing in the process.

This lays the groundwork, but you feel the best is yet to come.

Track listing:
1. Jacqueline
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
9. Michael
10. Come On Home
11. 40 Ft

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