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  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Franz Ferdinand

    Franz Ferdinand 8 ( 2004, UK pos 3 )
    Jacqueline / Tell Her Tonight / Take Me Out / The Dark Of The Matinee / Auf Achise / Cheating On You / This Fire / Darts Of Pleasure / Michael / Come On Home / 40

    Franz Ferdinand? A band from Glasgow that have achieved a bigger hit single with 'Take Me Out', here in the UK, than the far more hyped and pushed ( money wise ) Strokes and White Stripes could ever dream of imagining. It was a surprise result, the very catchy and very Strokes crossed with Hot Hot Heat sound of 'Take Me Out' nearly topping the singles charts? Well, it's happened. It's here, right now. The guys from Franz Ferdinand have stated their aim, and it's this. To make credible rock music that is catchy, fun and easy to dance to. We do actually need a band like this! We do!! Are they original? Not exactly. All the elements of their sound are tried and trusted, but hang on, this is only their debut. Are they 'great'? Well, perhaps someday they will be. They have the potential to do something different and startling in the future. Are they like The Darkness? Answer, no. Thankfully not. Are The Darkness even remotely credible? They've made rock music that is fun, too, surely? Well, yes, they have. But, unlike the novelty act that is The Darkness, Franz Ferdinand clearly have potential for a future. 'Take Me Out', apart from being catchy hints at a future electro version of Franz Ferdinand, a future mix of pop and rock far more fully realised. Eg, they are pretty good now, but it's so damn easy to imagine them getting better and better. How are The Darkness supposed to get any better? Stop singing in falsetto? Start to take themselves seriously? Develop musically? I mention The Darkness here, in this review, because Franz Ferdinand have, in acheiving a number two single, already matched the commercial success of The Darkness, as far as the singles charts are concerned, without an ounce of the exposure. Well, the single is playlisted. It didn't get to number two for nothing, but 'Take Me Out' is left-field. It's also pop, but I would never imagine such a song nearly topping the charts.

    Remember The Jam?? They couldn't do any wrong, built up a loyal and strong following and nobody quite understood why. Well, catchy tunes played in a rock style that had an element of intelligence about them. Not really terribly difficult. As such, this album is a rush of catchy tunes that sound right and hint at pop music sounds although it's actually been produced in a rock style, aka 'Is This It?' by The Strokes. 'Auf Asche' and a few other songs here, the steller 'Tell Her Tonight' for one, could easily match the singles success of 'Take Me Out'. So yes, this is a strong album. They haven't quite managed to create a work of art. No, this probably isn't going to make as strong an impact as 'Is This It', but I bet the third ( perhaps even the second ) Franz Ferdinand album far eclipses the second or third Strokes album. We need as many good bands as we can get, this aint no competition. Although, Franz Ferdinand may be about to crush all competition. We shall see.

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    Readers Comments

    Roland Fratzl rol4ten@aol.com
    The Scottish band named after the Austrian archduke whose assassination sparked World War I. I still don't understand why the band is named the way it is, but oh well. This album is 2004's best release so far (through mid March). You're right Adrian, it's not original, but this superbly catchy style of garagey new wave disco rock is quite captivating, and there isn't a single bad song.

    James james_leicester@hotmail.com
    I dont want to sound like a snobby indie prat, but I saw Franz Ferdinand back in September and you could tell they were going to be huge. They have the look (anyone who tells you image isnt important in pop is lying), and they have the tunes. Fantastic, catchy, danceable guitar-pop tunes. Top band.

    Ryan gersfan@aol.com
    I bought this album a few days ago and i think it is the best. They are a best rock band since red hot chili peppers.

    Gdii triCKster_gidi@yahoo.de
    Franz Ferdinand chose their name after watching a horse race with a competitor called Archduke. They have no affiliation with the former Austrian emperor dynasty.

    Ilya Grigoriev negative_creep@gmx.de
    This album is a dream come true for every pop lover in the world. And when I say pop, I don't mean MTV gymnastics. 'Jacqueline' starts the album off with a bang (although not literally). The singer dwells about some girl, supported by an acoustic before the song rips into the most catchy guitar sound on the whole album. It's probably the best starter song since "SLTS" in terms of melody - simply brilliant stuff! "Tell her tonight" is rather a letdown but that's compensated by the first single "Take me out". How that song became a hit is a mystery to me due to its unorthodox pop style (Jacqueline beats that one in terms of hooks) but nevertheless it is a very danceable tune. The next four tracks don't really burst with hooks but still entertain you (I disagree that 'Auf Achse' is more melodic than 'Take me out' - it drags along more than it should). And the next four songs are prime quality again: "Darts Of Pleasure" is short and terrific (especially the 'undress your! eyes' - part). "Michael" is a hilarious parody on homosexuals (or at least I think it is). "Come on Home" is the second best song on the album after "Jacqueline". The verse is loaded with hooks while the chorus sounds much like Thom Yorke. Last but not by any means least is "40'" - different from the rest with its depressive feel and sing-along chorus. Thery are already good, but as you said - there is still so much to improve. I can't wait for the second album!

    Ilya Grigoriev eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    not bad for a new band. Enjoyable but doesn't have much depth to it.

    Nathan Harper nator9999@comcast.net
    The first thing I thought of when I heard "Take Me Out" the first time: WOW, this sounds a really lot like Gang of Four. But really, I don't know if you've heard any of GOF's stuff, but "Take Me Out" sounds EXACTLY like a cross between them and the Strokes. The first part is the Strokes part, and the second part is the GOF part. Still, it's a pretty good song, even if it doesn't hold up as well on repeated listening. A bit too repetetive for me.

    Sal Viola Burotn900@juno.com
    Franz Ferdinand - sounds just like The Strokes! What he is doing has been done since 2001! I don't think he even is trying to sound different. He sounds like a record companies attempt to salvage some more money out of a dying genre/market.

    Neil se5a@iprimus.com.au
    I haven't heard much of this band, except for the single "Take Me Out". I find "Take Me Out" interesting in that it has a very early Magazine feel to it. This is no bad thing.... Come to think of it where are all the Magazine reviews? I hope to hear more of Franz Ferdinand in the future. Not to mention "Dogs Die In Cars".

    Patrick Mallon solskjaer69@hotmail.com
    Great album, brilliant. Dont think i've taken it out of the cd player! EVER!! .

    Amanda notatlibertytosay@hotmail.com
    The Darkness is a goood band, just like Franz Ferdinand. I am a big fan of them both. The only thing you can accuse The Darkness of is trying to have some fun in a rock scene that can be extremely monotonous at times. But I do agree with you, Franz Ferdinand surely has a promising future. ;)


    You Could Have It So Much Better( 2005, UK pos 1 )
    The Fallen / Do You Want To / This Boy / Walk Away / Evil And A Heathen / You're The Reason I'm Leaving / Eleanor Put Your Boots On / Well That Was Easy / What You Meant / I'm Your Villian / You Could Have It So Much Better / Fade Together / Outsiders

    Isn't it rare in this day and age that we have a very good band releasing two albums in two years? It's almost just like rock music's good old days. It's even more refreshing to learn upon initial listenings that Franz Ferdinand have done what The Strokes certainly didn't manage to do, and that's to release a second album every bit as good as the first. Well, perhaps even better. This follow-up record has a bunch of songs covering a wider stylistic palate, for one. Not that Franz Ferdinand have gone dance through occasional inventive use of keyboards to add texture. Or that by basing certain songs on a piano sound, that they've suddenly become Coldplay or Randy Newman. Now there's a sentence to confuse everybody. I threw in that latter name because unlike certain recent bands, Franz Ferdinand have proved they have songs with substance. This album proves it, right here. We've the softly strummed background guitars and lovely piano patterns of 'Eleanor Put Your Boots On'. A song that's fast become one of my own personal Franz favourites. It's proper song-writing and the vocals sound lovely. In a similar vein we have 'Fade Away', a lonely sounding beauty of a Franz ballad. Again, piano to the fore. Second single 'Walk Away' is no piano ballad but it is a little more restrained that the likes of 'Take Me Out' or 'Matinee' to use just two examples. Restrained in the context of the album certainly isn't bad, the exact opposite applies when the song in question is as 'proper' and great as 'Walk Away'. Oh, and I have to mention the spooky electronic noise that rides through the beginning of closing tune, 'The Outsiders', a song with guitars and funk. It isn't funk and doesn't resemble 'funk music', but the song definitely has funk. You can dance to this if you want to, indie-kids.

    'You Could Have It So Much Better', a brave album title that the quality of the album actually makes work, gets off to a cracking start. 'The Fallen' must surely be a future single. It's groovy and jerky and even a little beefy. You can shake your booty on the dancefloor. Opening single, 'Do You Want To' had a tough job being the tune that had the job of, in effect, trying to replicate the success of 'Take Me Out'. It's not a song with as easy a flow as 'Take Me Out' but work, it certainly does. It comes across almost as a more demented 'Take Me Out', certainly a progression if not an revolution. That's the beauty of the album as a whole, though. It's both evolution and a reminder of everything you liked about the band in the first place. A band that apparently worked themselves into the ground, tearing their hair out in an effort to ensure they didn't waste the momentum they'd built up with their debut album. And, isn't that just such a refreshing change?

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    Readers Comments

    skip brutalli_honest@hotmail.com
    first time i heard this album i hated it, then i actually listened to it, without assumptions that it was gonna be excatly like the first,and i fell in love!it's an amazing album, with real substance, which is what we dont see enough off these days, great review btw:D

    Tonight 6 ( 2009, UK pos 1 )
    Ulysses / Turn It On / No You Girls Never Know / Twilight Omens / Send Him Away / Live Alone / Bite Hard / What She Came For / Can't Stop Feeling / Lucid Dreams / Dream Again / Katherine Kiss Me

    'Tonight' is make or break for Franz Ferdinand, or is it? Well, they've settled snugly inside the US top ten, they've continued to sell records in the UK and they've evolved their sound. 'Tonight' is like they've tried to take the template for 'Take Me Out', take away the guitars and go for broke. Maybe they want to take part in the new-pop scene? So, lots of electronics, lots of disco bass lines, lots of tightness in the playing. The actual tunes aren't really any better than before although the last albums schizophrenia has been put to bed. That's either a good or a bad thing depending on your point of view, really. Franz don't please their female fans mind you, with 'No You Girls Never Know', although perhaps they do? This is as catchy as watching a car crash on the side of the motorway, absolutely thrillingly ramshackle, yet the bass-lines are tight. A combination of tightness and the ramshackle? Works very well for me indeed. Lead single 'Ulysses' has a foot in both the indie and pop camps, not the best single they've released but it'll do. 'Turn It On' is a dead cert to be a future single and again has a foot in both camps. Franz Ferdinand are managing to juggle themselves very well, says me.

    A series of lack-lustre tracks follow before 'Bite Hard' bites me strongly with loud and weird sounding keyboard lines and a thumping, almost glam rock beat. 'Live Alone' is a twisty, disco monster of a pop song. 'Lucid Dreams' is a seven minute mess and the album is nearly over, now. The sweet 'Katherine Kiss Me' ends this whole sorry affair, sounding very nice as we just have voice and acoustic but more importantly, we have an actual song. Franz Ferdinand have gone for broke then? Well, only in terms of style. The substance is somewhat lacking so the fact they've 'broken' American hardly surprises me.

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    this page last updated 21/02/09


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