CD Review – Franz Ferdinand “Franz Ferdinand”

Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand

A Brit-pop band without sassy style is like fish without chips. It just doesn’t work. Aside from being just plain stylish, Franz Ferdinand fills that entire platter.

Proudly stickered on Franz Ferdinand’s self-titled debut album is NME’s (New Music Express) superlative: “The Best New Band in Britain.” Franz Ferdinand’s best song, “Take Me Out,” is reminiscent of another media darling, The Strokes.

If music connoisseurs knew only this much about the album, then Franz Ferdinand would seem like just another insubstantial upstart. “Take Me Out,” though, starts out like a very good Strokes song, such as “Hard To Explain.”

To linger on a parallel with The Strokes is unfair, because after a minute of the Strokes-ey riff in “Take Me Out” is a 180-degree shift into a jam band disco beat.

Much apart from any other contemporary band, Franz Ferdinand sounds like an inventive cross between Pulp’s party beats and Dick Dale-like guitar licks that could’ve been recorded in The Fugs’ garage in the ’60s.

Franz Ferdinand is not just good party music, it’s music that remains appropriate for more intimate settings, such as those interludes shared between people involving smoke, pills or maybe even condoms.

No song on FF is a bore; any song on this album is screaming to be used on Britain’s next Trainspotting soundtrack.

“Jaqueline,” like most songs on FF, begins quite differently from how it ends.

At first, the song could be yet another poetic ballad using a biography of some chick. But then the bass interrupts, as if reminding the listener that these nostalgic Brits are rockers before poets.

The spirit of this action-before-contemplation carries this debut album as one of the year’s best.

“Auf Achse” is the most nightclub-ish track and is the “I Will Survive” of the new millennium, thus far.

FF’s most raging song is “This Fire,” making stir-crazy introverts want superpowers. Imagine flames shooting from one’s fingers with arms waving to the beat. Suffice it to say the guitars are, er, fiery.

Though Franz Ferdinand’s originality is bona fide, it’s not as though the band reinvented rock ‘n’ roll. Fun, garage-sounding rock is in with bands who like to use the article “the” (The Hives, The Vines, The Distillers).

Just the fact that they’ve named the band Franz Ferdinand is a nice start. FF’s final song, “40′,” best shows the band’s individuality, but is not as strong as the rest of the album.

In order to build upon having one of the year’s best albums, Franz Ferdinand could stand to gain more solidarity on its more creative songs in the future.

The challenge with most bands that put out a great debut album is they can’t sustain the power they once had.

Franz Ferdinand, however, seems to have the staying power that many of its Brit-pop predecessors had before them.

Contact Harold Valentine at