Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

Alex Worsnip 09/02/2004

Rating: 4/5

Franz Ferdinand are, without doubt, the most talked about new British band of the moment. Almost a synthesis of the coolest music of the last few years, with some late Britpop crossed with punk-funk and a dash of Coral/-ish madness, their two first singles are almost stunningly great. Great concern, then, that the album might not live up to it. Opener 'Jacqueline' sets worries at rest from the first moment: it begins acoustically before exploding into a rumbling, dramatic song with two brilliant riffs that sounds like The Libertines if they had musical brains about them. Like that band, The Jam is a keen reference point, but there's a dash of The Fall in there too.

Poppier offerings like the disco-ish 'Tell Her Tonight', 'Come On Home' and of course the brilliantly shoutable surprise mega-hit 'Take Me Out' (with at least 3 distinctive brilliant sections, at least 3 brilliant riffs, and a impossible swaggering groove), strike a blow for arthouse indie-disco, referencing Talking Heads and reviving a genre that had become inextricably linked with the hopeless Reef and the slightly less hopeless Charlatans. 'Auf Achse' represents the other side of the album, sitting closer to the crop of 80s revivalists such as Interpol and Stellastarr* than the punk-funk of The Strokes or Hot Hot Heat, and referencing, further back, The Smiths, The Fall and of course Joy Division.

'Cheating On You' is reminiscent of the art-punk of Sonic Youth at their poppiest, except with more British vocals more reminiscent of Robert Smith of The Cure. Blur, too, are a reference point - there are huge numbers of reference points for this album - its not the most original ever - but it is a great synthesis of fantastic styles that perhaps have never been brought together before. The album is also carried by a stunning array of tunes and riffs that convince every time, bleeding cool, sex and brilliance. 'Darts of Pleasure' is just as brilliant as it was the first time you heard it; 'Come On Home' is, and eerie, shuffling closer '40 Ft' rounds things up in inimitable style. This is a classic British album and one to seriously treasure. Its array of songs is incredible and it strikes a blow against the increasingly Americanised world of the 'in' music.