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Franz Ferdinand 

Franz Ferdinand

Wednesday, Mar 17 2004
Some bands are destined to be defined by the groups that closely preceded them. You can't talk about the Mooney Suzuki without mentioning the White Stripes, just as you can't discuss Bush without name-dropping Nirvana. The same goes for Franz Ferdinand, the latest, possibly greatest post-post-punk band.

So far, the most frequent comparison this Scottish foursome has gotten is to New York's Interpol, which is really just a roundabout way of saying the combo has the dark, careening vibe of Joy Division. An even more apt likening would be to a genetic mating of the Strokes and Hot Hot Heat, with the gritty sheen of the former and the slashing funkiness of the latter. But whereas the Strokes' singer sounds like he's bored of breathing and HHH's leader grows shrill over time, Franz's Alex Kapranos comes off like a sexy soul singer (similar to fellow Scot Edwyn Collins). In "Jacqueline" he wails, "I'm so drunk I don't mind if you kill me"; in "Darts of Pleasure" he murmurs like there's a thorn wedged in his nether regions (and he wants you to pull it out, wink wink, nudge nudge).

That sly sense of humor is what really separates Franz from its contemporaries. While most of the band's songs deal with desire, Kapranos seems to have more than his tongue in his cheek when he sings the gay-disco come-on of "Michael" or the offhand kiss-off of "Cheating on You." In "The Dark of the Matinee" he offers the perfect hipster seduction: "I charm you and tell you/ Of the boys I hate, all the girls I hate, all the words I hate, all the clothes I hate/ How I'll never be anything I hate." The combination of Kapranos' lasciviously elastic delivery and its accompaniment, the band's self-proclaimed "music for girls to dance to," makes for a whopping good time. Easy comparisons do Franz Ferdinand a great injustice; the group's brand of foppish pop may not be new, but, damn, it's dandy.

About The Author

Dan Strachota


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