From the opening dissonant chords of the song, “TAKE ME OUT”, you know a good pop tune is on its way. At first, you’re not quite sure, it begins surely and strongly enough however, you can’t help but compare it to other contemporary bands you’ve heard before, it lightly treads the high wire between triteness and innovation—that is at least for the first minute, after this, the song changes tempo and the guitar riff becomes even more dissonant but strangely catchy. The words themselves bring the listener into Theatre of the Absurd territory as they describe the events of a night out during which the narrator fails to get off with someone at a party. Instead of chronicling these rather mundane events, the song envisions a relationship as between two snipers each ready to put an end to the evening. The song ends with the rousing chorus of “I want you to TAKE ME OUT”.
This quartet originates from Glasgow. They share a distinct indie rock sensibility common to the other Scottish innovators of the genre, JOSEF K and ORANGE JUICE. What FRANZ FERDINAND also have in common with these bands is a consciously arty attitude that comes across in their lyrics. The second song on this single, “ALL FOR YOU, SOPHIA”, discusses the event that started the First World War. It is written from the point of view of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the final minutes of his life. Gavrilo Principe, mentioned in the song, was a Serbian Nationalist and member of the anarchist faction, the Black Hand, who assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand along with his then pregnant wife Sophia. It forms rather interesting subject matter for a two and a half minute catchy pop song. Apart from the violence in the lyrics and catchy keyboard lines, the song is tinged with gruesome sincerity.
The last track “WORDS SO LEISURED” is an acoustic rendering of their first single “DARTS OF PLEASURE”. This could almost be called the ‘piano-bar’ version, as it is accompanied by electric guitar and piano.
After playing numerous loft parties and small venues up North the band has moved to London, living and working at yet another incarnation of their residence, The Chateau. In a short period of time the band have become the darlings of the British Music Press. Franz Ferdinand have played prime opening slots for INTERPOL and BELLE AND SEBASTIAN in the UK and have already played several dates in New York City. Now, they are embarking upon their first North American Tour in advance of their self-titled debut’s release here. They seem to have broken the disenheartening spell cast on pop music by bands like OASIS in the UK. While it is true that appreciation of a work can lead the reviewer down the road of excessive hyperbole, FRANZ FERDINAND are a band that deserve it. I find their music simultaneously shocking and amazing and am filled with anticipation for their new album.