Artist: Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand is a Scottish rock band that formed in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, in 2002 and played an important part in the post-punk revival of the 2000s. The band is composed of Alex Kapranos (lead vocals and guitar), Bob Hardy (bass guitar), Nick McCarthy (rhythm guitar, keyboards and backing vocals) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals). The band first experienced chart success when their second single "Take Me Out" reached #3 in the UK Charts, followed by their debut album Franz Ferdinand which entered the UK album chart at #3.
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Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand Boston Phoenix, May 2004
IM THUMBING through the March issue of Uncut, the comprehensive and entertaining British music monthly, when I hit the front of the review section and see a five-stars-out-of-five rating for the homonymous debut Franz Ferdinand (Domino USA/Epic).
This was surprising, because the only Franz Ferdinand Id ever heard of was the Austrian archduke whose assassination launched World War I. Its also odd because for much of the past 25 years, British and American releases by hot or major bands have been more or less simultaneous US labels dont like losing units to import stores or bootlegs.
But Franz Ferdinand is here now, and one wonders: is it really as great as Uncut would have it? The magazine stumbles into hyperbole less than most music mags, but it occasionally indulges, like a non-smoker who bums a cigarette every few months just for the nicotine hit. Well, yeah, Franz Ferdinand lives up to its advance hype, even if it has some of the tell-tale signs of one-hit wonder. Or rather, that all too common syndrome that leads to a short-term mass audience in England and a longer-term cult audience in the US. Its got the careering, almost out-of-control audacity of disco-rockers Frankie Goes to Hollywoods only memorable moment, Two Tribes, but it rocks while being both sensitive and smart.
Like Frankie in reverse, Franz Ferdinand are a rock-and-roll band with a disco spirit. Theirs may be the first bona fide metrosexual rock album made by a pure guitars/bass/drums quartet who have every chance of breaking through on radio and in clubland. Style counts. And though I am much too old to stay up late enough to indulge in any such activity myself, I can imagine that upwardly mobile urban hetero-gay-bi fashionistas would happily claim this band as their own.
The relentless up-tempo drive of the music is devoid of solos in favor of constant, breathless danceability. Precedents vary between a less bombastic Queen and a Devo with bigger guitars. The album is big, brawny, yet tidy compulsively neat, even. The songs throb with imploring passion that would be ludicrous if it were wounded-sounding, like the Smiths. Instead, Franz Ferdinand are the anti-Smiths, and if love wont call, sybaritic pleasure will do fine. Beginning to end, its over the top, one drug-free amyl nitrate rush, from the inhale of Jacqueline (which states the bands credo: "Its always better on holiday") to the exhale of "40°" some 38 minutes later.
Gay? Some songs lean that way. The Dark of the Matinee reminds me of my first visit to London, when I walked into a revival cinema near Victoria Station expecting some solitude and a W.C. Fields movie on a sunny Sunday afternoon and instead found the theater overflowing with men obsessing over other men, cruising the very sticky carpeted aisles, the kind of scene Alex Kapranos or Nick McCarthy, the two singers, guitarists, and songwriters, describe so well in Matinee: "I time every journey to bump into you accidentally/I charm you and tell you of all the boys I hate/Of all the girls I hate/All the words I hate/All the clothes I hate."
Take Me Out is a danceable rouser on which Franz sound like a British band (theyre from Glasgow) trying to sound like a Scandinavian band trying to sound like a British band; the producer, in fact, is Swedish native Tore Johansson, whos best known for producing hits for the Cardigans. You also hear bits of everything from the glam-bam of the New York Dolls to the Beatles Ticket To Ride, if you can imagine the Beatles as John, Paul, Ringo, and Tim Curry. Darts of Pleasure oozes with seduction: "You are the villain who sends a line of dark fantastic passion." If sound were color, this would be fiery red; if this were a video, it would have to be produced by the Baz Luhrmann who gave us Moulin Rouge.
Notwithstanding that Tell Her Tonight mentions seducing girls, one can imagine a thousand sweaty men at Cherry Grove this summer dancing on the beach in tribal ecstasy and shouting along with the bridge: "I want you to take! me! out!" But the most overt indication of Franz Ferdinands leanings is the jumping masterwork Michael. My daughters look at me with a combination of pity and concern as I dance and shout along: "This is what I am, I am a man/Come and dance with me, Michael."
In the end, the bands sexual orientation doesnt matter. Franz Ferdinand may offer insider strokes to some, but its spirit of liberation is free to all. And so Im overwhelmed. For a few minutes, my family, my living room, my utterly unmetrosexual life that makes Harvey Pekars seem glamorous its all disappearing into the oceanic roar of the last rock-and-roll disco on earth. Whoever, whatever: come and dance with me.
Music video by Franz Ferdinand performing Take Me Out. (C) 2004 Domino Recording Co. Ltd.
Franz Ferdinand Studio album by Franz Ferdinand Released 9 February 2004 Recorded 2003 Genre Post-punk, indie rock Length 38:45 (single disc) 54:35 (double d...
Kickass performance ;O.
Listen to my own indierock songs at my channel!