Franz Ferdinand (the actual person, that is) used to be the very powerful archduke of Austria, and his brutal assasination eventually led a little crisis straight into WWI. But I'm not here to exactly give a history lesson. Maybe now you can see why a group of very determined Scottish friends decided to go for this kind of band name. Franz Ferdinand, (the band this time) started out playing at an abandoned warehouse in the Gorbals which they named "the Chateau" in early 2000. They also held rave-like "happenings" combining music and art. While these 'happenings' included acts if illegal activities, it stayed undisclosed to the public. When the local police shut the events down, the band found an abandoned Victorian courthouse and played there.
Influenced by some of the most revolutionary of the 80's post-punk, Franz Ferdinand managed to work their way through the seedy underbelly of the underground 'Alternative" circuit. They eventually got to large fame on the streets and then got offered a record deal. And then comes the year 2004, and the band has reached almost worldwide stardom. They released their selftitled debut album, and with singles like "Take Me Out", and "This Fire" hitting it big in the States, and their whole actual album reaching the top of the charts in the U.K, the band had reached some of the very highest and most exclusive that the industry had to offer. This is a band that stepped in, armed to the teeth with great alternative material, and one of the most slick, laid-back vocals you will ever hear, and got to work on not just their own continent, but the whole world all at once, and succeeded in the best outcome possible too.
From playing in an abandoned warehouse, to the Grammys, in 4 years flat.
Franz Ferdinand- Franz Ferdinand
Alexander Kapranos- Vocals, Guitar
Nicholas McCarthy- Guitar, Keyboard
Robert Hardy- Bass
Paul Thomson- Drums
Very eerie intro to an album in my personal opinion, as Alexs' vocals creep throughout the acoustic intro and gives an impression like its there to stay. but then a matching bass-line comes in and starts the kind of positive mess we came in here for. Very different mix of tastes here, including nice shuffles on Paul's hats, and the repetitive guitar-work that will eventually switch around later but will stay at it's original root. Its moody, alright. And this symbolizes the overall mood that the album will have, or at least try to pass on to the listener. Not the best intro, or the best song, but it tells a story while it gets you into the true mood that will soon strike once again. "It's always better on holiday." 3.5/5
Tell Her Tonight
Big influence by The Doors strikes obvious on this one. Reflective, standard guitar-work comes in, as Alex starts to tell the listner about 'light' abuse on some poor girl while the great rush of Rob's bass starts kicking in, and the song gets on track just in time. Ranking in at around two and a half minutes, this is the shortest track on the album, and with the great compositions and the more chaotic bridge, it clearly leaves you wanting a lot more thatn what it gives you. The song fades with the same lyrics it started out with. Overall, not much of an impression, but hangs in there as one of Nic's best tracks. 3.5/5
Take Me Out
My, my. Here we are. The first and the only single off the album that got them the record deal, and on t.v in the first place. Starts off with the not very clear lyrics, and moves along with simple material as the intro finishes up and fades into the dreaded measure of hell. Although very annoying at the center, you just cant help but just tap your foot to it. Its infectious, and the whole track echoes the exact message of uppy, hoppy lyrics and melodies including the better bridge that keeps the song together and keeps it moving. People recognize this song for the so-called good bass in it. But I myself dont see anything special with it. Same ol', same ol' from the slightly annoying Rob Hardy. Overall, the first time around, it has to be one of the best things youve ever heard, but then expires into pieces after a few listens. 3.5/5
The Dark Of The Matinee
Ok, after three tracks of pure mediocrety, if thats even a word, the album brings us to something a bit more over the edge. Paul starts us off with a great damn, beat that fuels the song into the hands of Alex' moddy, slick vocals that sahpe the song into what it's supposed to be like. The verse also tells a story and creeps up onto the chorus which then lightly explodes a bit into a greater show of skill from all of the musicans (including Hardy). It has to be the overall mood that the song gives off, glued together with the precise components, to create one of the best listens on the whole album. Highlight has to be the excellent lyrics and Paul's stand-out musicianship. Brilliant. "Find me and follow me through corridors, refectories and files, you must follow, leave this academic factory." 4.5/5
Very special and more different intro, as something that you would expect from a kind of foreign orchestra. Nic gets props. Rob at bass joing in and adds an actual great line while the melody continues, and then Alex and Paul join in and start up the song with simple materialurns around completely and creates a sonic boom that you would call the chorus which sounds very nice. Then, Alex keeps continuing to speak about some fight over the girl, and as if he was aggresively speaking to the listener, he continues to speak in this tone until the the song progresses deeper into the song and into the ascending bridge and fading outro. I like it, as it brings in something very different to the moods of the album, but yet sticks to the same variable. "She's not so special, look what youve done, boy." 4/5
Cheating On You
Rob and Nic start us off with one fun line to begin a series of more pounding measures by Paul, and Alex later comes in with more unclear lyrics, but you then again, whats really clear is that the song itself is more of a musical-oriented, more than the rest of the material. Great work by Paul once again on the chorus, as his hand-to-hand 'combat' on the hats and the rims give off the special song that later rubs off into the great Alex-led bridge that once again takes the song even farther. This song tkaes you away from the moody but at the same time warns you not to exactly get used to it. It comes back. 3.5/5
The band's second single, and another cause for their big success that followed. That pounding and ringing on some i think very heavy ride cymbal by Paul gets you pumped in a very soothing kind of way until Alex steps in with the vocals that set off one of the very best on the album. Theres no denying this one, as it is also highly infectious, and with the nice-flowing guitar-work and that ringing from Paul's set still in your head, barely anything is holding it back from reaching once again, the top of the charts. The highlight here is clearly the catchy chorus. It is something you wont be getting out of your head for some time. Enjoy. "This fire is out of control, I'm gonna burn this city." 4.5/5
Darts Of Pleasure
As another, but not so much recognized single, this track ranks in, in my book, as the best song on the album. Whats there not to say. The bass-line keeps Paul's tremendous show going, and Nic and Alex duke it out very lightly, but noticeable enough to give you a picture of how discriptive these guys' tracks can actually get. I think the lyrics here are tremendously dirtier than anything else on the record, and makes a huge appearance as the bass wallows in the hands of Paul's hats in the chorus. The outro leads the song out of a won battle, to fight another day, or be played another day on your stereo. Pure fucking genius. "You can feel my lips undress your eyes, words poisoned darts of pleasure." 5/5
Hah. The song that started the awful, awful rumor that the band, or at least Alex, was a homosexual. You would think it too if you took a look at the approach to the song itself, but most of all the lyrics. "Michael, you're the boy with all the leather hips, sticky hair, sticky hips, stubble on my sticky lips."
Pretty sick and obscene, and makes you feel a little uncomfortable if its coming from the brilliant vocals of Alex. But the song as a whole, apart from sounding completely gay, reflects off of the album's previous work and effects like frequent feedback and Paul's hats make great add-ons. The chorus has an interesting guitar-riff to offer, but its hard to notice when all you can hear is Alex drooling over some guy named michael. Overall, not bad, and excluding the lyrics, a very good approach. "Michael, youre the only one I'd ever want, beautiful boys on a beautiful dancefloor." 4/5
Come On Home
Great intro, sporting a great western-sound. Alex steps in with even greater vocals, and the song continues with a series of open hats and pounding bass by Paul and Rob, and leaves Nic and Alex to create one hell of a song for the audience. This song whispers a more insane aspect of the band, and it comes off well, with the keyboard hanging in there with a special selection of keys, and Alex humming the song title well as the chorus, switching tempos and looking to his back-up friends for great material on the bridge. The highlight here are clearly vocals and Mic on the keyboard, as it makes the song truly complete and leaves no bad ideas behind. "Blue light falls upon your perfect skin, falls and you draw back again." 4.5/5
Starts us off on the final jorney with another of the more insane, and laid-back intros. This isnt exactly one of those slow, long goobyes, but it comes close, and with goulish back-up singers, one great bassline, and Paul sporting another great series of 'hat-trick', which i call it at this point, this last track doesnt dissapoint one bit. It gives off the same aspect that Jacquline left off with, and adds some of the album's best moods into one great finish. Cant say muche else, as it is another musical-aspected track, and another one that truly deserves a perfect score, not only for ending such an album in the perfect note, but for mixing the band's variables all into one to create something thats a treat to listen to. 5/5
+Gay or not, Alex holds one of my favorite vocals of all time
+Drums and bass work together for great rythmic material
+One of a kind mood that you dont exactly see every day
-Poor intro to a great album
This very debut album was the winner of the 2004 Mercury Music Prize, and found itself in one successful position for a debut album. Since not many bands nowadays can get recognition this huge from a debut album, Franz Ferdinand pushed themselves farther and takes you through a sequence of deatiled, colorful stories about chaos, death, mystery, or maybe just a little male-discovery, streaming with material originated from the great musicians that make up the overall band. They were always true to their roots from the beginning, and thats what they will be for the time to come. So to leave you with one of Alex's lines, picture their sudden fame and stardom that came from a single debut album that took them so far, as to actually make the impact on the industry and musicians alike.
You're where you want to be, I'm where I want to be, come on we're chasing everything we've ever wanted