Franz Ferdinand: Alexander Kapranos (vocals, guitar); Nicholas McCarthy (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Robert Hardy (bass); Paul Thomson (drums, background vocals).
2004 Australia/New Zealand import has an second compact disc with three bonus tracks.
On their self-titled debut, Glasgow foursome Franz Ferdinand lift the jagged, danceable sounds of British post-punk to elegant and dizzying new heights. While they may seem to have much in common with the wave of American bands emerging in the early 2000s, Franz Ferdinand demonstrates a close study of the genre and proves its prowess. If the Rapture is a rowdy kegger in a Brooklyn loft, then Franz Ferdinand is a gin-soaked dance-off at an outdoor European cafe where no table remains untipped. As disciples of the Fire Engines, Josef K, and Orange Juice, chief songwriters Alex Kapranos and Nicholas McCarthy temper the edges with a sense of melody that wisely falls just shy of Blondie-style bubble gum.
The centerpiece is "Take Me Out" (a U.K. top ten hit), which plays out a series of come-ons between rival assassins, over what begins as a sneering slice of mid-1990s Britpop, only to morph into a funky dance-floor tune. Kapranos is often quoted as saying that the band was started in order to "make music that girls can dance to," but this unusually assured debut is quite likely to affect discriminating boys in exactly the same way.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.142) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[T]heir album is one killer song after another..."
Spin (p.68) - Ranked #3 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "[T]his Scottish quartet's debut feels life-altering from first listen..."
Q (3/04, p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[U]tterly unique. Setting them apart is a bizarre military chic, the best basslines since peak New Order....The most ebullient British debut since Elastica."
Uncut (3/04, p.88) - 5 stars out of 5 - "A dynamic, direct debut from funky, punky junk-shop monkeys who strut, swagger and shrug nonchalantly."
Uncut (p.74) - Ranked #10 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "[With] precise guitars and jagged rhythmic angles, flushed with the arthouse swagger of Talking Heads and XTC..."
Magnet (p.66) - Ranked #7 in Magnet's "The 20 Best Albums Of 2004" - "[P]acked with stuttering mechanical riffs and smoking-jacket panache..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.61) - Ranked #51 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "A marriage of Britpop and post-punk....[It] won us over with its exuberance, hauteur and relentless songwriting."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/04, p.95) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]hey see things in their own way and the songs feel like they're boiling over, there's so much heat under them."