|Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand|
|Release: 2004 / Label: Sony-Domino / Collection: V / AMG Rating:|
|2||Tell Her Tonight||8||Darts Of Pleasure|
|3||Take Me Out||9||Michael|
|4||The Dark Of The Matinee||10||Come On Home|
|5||Auf Achse||11||40 Ft|
|6||Cheating On You|
Heather Phares, All Music Guide
While the Darts of Pleasure EP proved that Franz Ferdinand had a way with equally sharp lyrics and hooks, and the "Take Me Out" single took their sound to dramatic new heights, their self-titled debut album offers the most expansive version of their music yet. From the first track, "Jacqueline," which begins with a brooding acoustic prelude before jumping into a violently vibrant celebration of hedonism, Franz Ferdinand is darker and more diverse than the band's previous work suggested. "Auf Ausche" has an unsettling aggression underneath its romantic yearning, its cheap synth strings and pianos underscoring its low-rent moodiness and ruined glamour. And even in the album's context, "Take Me Out" remains unmatched for sheer drama; with its relentless stomp and lyrics like "I'm just a cross hair/I'm just a shot away from you," it's deliciously unclear whether it's about meeting a date or a firing squad. The wonderfully dry wit the band employed on Darts of Pleasure's "Shopping for Blood" and "Van Tango" is used more subtly: the oddly radiant "Matinee" captures romantic escapism via dizzying wordplay. "Michael," meanwhile, is a post-post-punk "John, I'm Only Dancing," by equal turns macho and fey; when Alex Kapranos proclaims "This is what I am/I am a man/So come and dance with me, Michael," it's erotic as well as homoerotic. Love and lust make up a far greater portion of Franz Ferdinand than any of the band's other work; previously, Franz Ferdinand's strong suit was witty aggressiveness, and the shift in focus has mixed results. There's something a little too manic and unsettled about Franz Ferdinand to make them completely convincing romantics, but "Come On Home" has swooning, anthemic choruses guaranteed to melt even those who hate swooning, anthemic choruses. Fortunately, the album includes enough of their louder, crazier songs to please fans of their EPs. "Darts of Pleasure" remains one of the best expressions of Franz Ferdinand's shabby glamour, campy humor, and sugar-buzz energy, and "Tell Her Tonight," which debuted on the Darts of Pleasure EP, returns in a full-fledged version that's even more slinky, menacing, and danceable than the demo hinted it might be. And if Franz Ferdinand's aim has always been to get people dancing, then "Cheating on You"'s churned-up art punk and close, Merseybeat-like harmonies suggest some combination of slam dancing and the twist that could sweep dancefloors. Despite its slight unevenness, Franz Ferdinand ends up being rewarding in different ways than the band's previous work was, and it's apparent that they're one of the more exciting groups to come out of the garage rock/post-punk revival.
Mike McGonigal, Amazon.com
Franz Ferdinand is an unrelentingly smart, fluffy, and fun debut. This Scottish four-piece plays vaguely angular, guitar-heavy post-pop that makes you want to dance around the room while playing air guitar. It's the ideal hipster guilty-pleasure music. This is what the Rapture and Interpol would sound like if they wrote songs half as good as those they rip off, or the Strokes if their parents had sent them to art school instead of the fashion academy. Every song on here is so blatantly derivative it sounds almost original, like a Blur without the gloomy hangover. It's too early yet to tell if this is just a band for the moment or one for the ages--but who really cares with pop music, anyway? Songs like "Darts of Pleasure," "Come on Home," "Take Me Out," and "Cheating on You" are so good they will surely appeal even to those without slanty, messy haircuts.
Paul Eisinger, Amazon.co.uk
Touted as being the first great album of 2004, Franz
Ferdinand's eponymous debut may be the secret weapon that'll kick-start
the British fight against the White Strokes. Though they have a reputation
as being bohemian art-obsessed dilettantes, they're at the vanguard of the
Art Wave scene, and possess a fierce determination to change the face of
modern music--their twin aims: to bring back cerebral rock that makes you
want to dance, and to bring frontline music back home (witness exclusively
British lyrics such as "I'm on BBC 2 now; telling Terry Wogan how I made
it"). So what weapons do these four skinny lads engage to galvanise the UK
music scene? Unsurprisingly, they roll out the big guns of Britpop past.
"Cheating on You" bounces like early Blur; "Come on Home" soars like
pre-OK Computer Radiohead; "Michael" flirts with Suede-esque sexual
androgyny; and "Matinee" sleazes onto you like Pulp at their most
Lydia Vanderloo, Barnes & Noble
Scotland's fertile indie scene -- which has turned out everything from the baroque pop of Belle & Sebastian to the throbbing prog-rock of Mogwai -- produces yet another winner with art-punk quartet Franz Ferdinand. A top-selling act in the U.K., FF answer the post-punk call of New York City throwbacks such as the Strokes, the Rapture, and Interpol. That said, the band cover the waterfront on their debut, suggesting the Stranglers with the sweaty sexual innuendo of "Darts of Pleasure," Pulp on the keyboard-doused "Come on Home," and Gang of Four's angular guitar work on the dramatic, funk-rock single "Take Me Out." The twin axe attack, in particular, gives Franz Ferdinand a pep to its step, as Nick McCarthy and singer Alex Kapranos, both on guitar, spar with bassist Bob Hardy, and with one another, on scrabbling, angst-riddled songs like "Jaqueline," on which Kapranos spits out lyrics such as "It's always better on holiday / That's why we only work when we need the money." When he isn't churning out working-class screeds, Kapranos focuses on more corporeal issues, as on the lusty "Michael," which takes cues from a long line of glammy singers who've flirted with ambisexuality -- from Bowie to Morrissey to Suede's Brett Anderson. It may sound chaotic, but Kapranos and his gang wear their influences well, and retro as it may be, Franz Ferdinand's style is fun, energetic, and utterly of the moment.
Simon Fernand, BBC
If you believe what you read, Franz Ferdinand are
Glasgow's answer to The Strokes. Only they don't really sound like The
Strokes. Or look like them. Or have much in common with them at all. It's
all a bit confusing, really. Surely this, their eponymous debut album,
can't live up to comparisons with Is This It? Or can it?
Franz Ferdinand: Alexander Kapranos (vocals, guitar); Nicholas McCarthy (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Robert Hardy (bass); Paul Thomson (drums, background vocals).
On their self-titled debut, Glasgow foursome Franz Ferdinand lift the jagged, danceable sounds of British post-punk to elegant and dizzying new heights. While they may seem to have much in common with the wave of American bands emerging in the early 2000s, Franz Ferdinand demonstrates a close study of the genre and proves its prowess. If the Rapture is a rowdy kegger in a Brooklyn loft, then Franz Ferdinand is a gin-soaked dance-off at an outdoor European cafe where no table remains untipped. As disciples of the Fire Engines, Josef K, and Orange Juice, chief songwriters Alex Kapranos and Nicholas McCarthy temper the edges with a sense of melody that wisely falls just shy of Blondie-style bubble gum. The centerpiece is "Take Me Out" (a U.K. top ten hit), which plays out a series of come-ons between rival assassins, over what begins as a sneering slice of mid-1990s Britpop, only to morph into a funky dance-floor tune. Kapranos is often quoted as saying that the band was started in order to "make music that girls can dance to," but this unusually assured debut is quite likely to affect discriminating boys in exactly the same way.
Jesse Fahnestock, Ink Blot Magazine
Every once in a great while, a group comes a long and
makes the standard rock format of guitars, bass, drums and voice sound
completely new. Franz Ferdinand are not that band.
Jaime Gill, Yahoo! Music
What is it about the lowly guitar that inspires such
stubborn, partisan passion in so many music fans? A hundred brilliant pop
records can be released but if they haven't been rubbed vigorously against
a Stratocaster the purists are stricken by a temporary but total deafness.
Conversely, if a guitar band comes along with even the scantest
songwriting ability and a mere sprinkling of style, they are lauded as the
band who will save music from itself.
Anthony Thornton, New Musical Express
It’s the modest ones you’ve got to look out for. Franz
Ferdinand’s aim is to "make records that girls can dance to and to cut
through postured crap". Oh really? After all they sport art-school crops,
stripey shirts and the moniker of the archduke whose assassination
kick-started the First World War. In short, last time we checked they
weren’t quite Jet. So Franz Ferdinand, then: Posturing? Yes. Crap? Well,
we’ll get to that.
Brent DiCrescenzo, Pitchfork Media, March 9, 2004
With the cash from the Thesaurus Musicarum sales snowing
in, Editor-in-Chief Ryan Schreiber decided to treat the entire staff of
Pitchfork to a weekend retreat at Steamers, a Finnish bath/scat fetish
"bunny ranch" in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Having just completed principle
photography on a documentary biopic detailing my creative life, I decided
to tag along despite no longer feeling part of the team. Due to seniority,
Ryan gave me the back bench on the bus. As the fresh writers swapped
customized iPod skins and debated the cultural impact of Xiu Moo, I
counted passing silos while listening to worn Britpop mix cassettes and
neurotically rubbing the growing bald spot on my scalp. Ryan slipped in
next to me. He pulled a maroon jewelry box from his Member's Only.
Iain Moffat, Play Louder, February 6, 2004
Here it is then: The Most Important Album of The Year.
Alright, so that's maybe something of an overstatement, but, if there's
one band that can be said to have had the kind of galvanising effect not
seen since The Strokes first turned up, it's the Ferds, as, wisely, nobody
seems to have taken to calling them. After all, 'Darts Of Pleasure' won
the kind of across-the-board acclaim seldom afforded to indie bands these
days, getting year-end plaudits in pretty much every publication you care
to mention other than Horse & Hound (yes, this one included), and their
gatecrashing of the top ten has singlehandedly kick-started the biggest
sudden storming of the mainstream by alt.types since about 1996, so the
expectation surrounding it's kind of understandable if a little unfair.
Adrien Begrand, Pop Matters, March 19, 2004
You can't go a month or two these days without hearing
about yet another band of post punk revisionists that has come along, as
young artists with a fixation on the sound of late '70s/early '80s new
wave has supplanted the "new garage" fad of the last three years, and for
good reason, as the music is clever, melodic, fashionable, and above all
else, danceable. Yet no matter who comes along, the same question always
comes up: "Are they better than Interpol?" Throughout 2003, the reigning
kings of New York indie rock, were joined by a host of other, like-minded
bands: among others, there were the shameless Cure clones The Rapture and
Hot Hot Heat, the simpler, more easygoing Stills, and the talented, yet
tragically underrated Elefant. As earnest as those bands are, though,
nobody has come around with a record boasting the potential of scoring a
big time hit. Until now, that is.
Barry Walters, Rolling Stone, Issue 947, April 29, 2004
Franz Ferdinand's first gig was for an all-female art exhibit; the aim of the Glasgow band was to make the patrons dance. That just about sums up this photogenic foursome, whose mix of arch lyrics and catchy but decidedly raw dance rock unites the cerebral with the physical in the English art-school tradition. For once, the inevitable U.K.-press hype is justified: Franz Ferdinand's debut draws from beloved Brit pop and post-punk bands without the usual plagiarism. Favoring sweaty, uncertain rhythms over cold, processed beats, the album remains true to the band's original goal. Singer Alex Kapranos proclaims pithy quips of seduction and abandonment while nervous guitars and loose drums clang and bash. In "Take Me Out," he yearns to be picked up, murdered or both, as the band abruptly shifts from a nervous sprint to a slower, funky lashing. Louche boys with good taste, Franz Ferdinand rock as if their haberdashery depended on it.
Thomas Bartlett, Salon.com
No one likes critical consensus, but lukewarm is as far as anyone has managed to stray from the universal tone of heated adulation in discussing Franz Ferdinand. And I can't even manage to temper my praise that much. These guys are good. Perhaps not good enough to live up to their hubristic, epoch-shifting name, but good enough that, of all the self-consciously backward-looking bands of the last few years who have sought and nearly achieved world domination (the Strokes, Interpol, the White Stripes, the Rapture, etc.), only Interpol sounds as good -- and in a pinch, I'd opt for Franz's wit over Interpol's solemn cool. Frontman Alex Kapranos is irresistible. He has some of Jim Morrison's portentous swagger, some of Jarvis Cocker's fiercely articulate narrative skill and a talent for twisted, memorable phrases ("You can feel my lips undress your eyes"). And he can switch without warning into an unexpected, fragile falsetto, which he uses to great effect on the chorus of this song. "Come on Home" is my favorite track today, but the album is packed with great songs, especially "Darts of Pleasure," "Take Me Out," "40" and "Jacqueline".