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CD Reviews: Review of Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand
Paulsen Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand (Epic/Sony 2004)

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With the tantalizing Darts of Pleasure EP already under their belts, the Scottish foursome Franz Ferdinand proved with their self-titled full-length debut that the buzz surrounding their shows in support of Interpol and Hot Hot Heat was well justified. In November of 2004, their US distributor, Epic, wisely released this bonus CD which contains all of the original Franz Ferdinand plus five additional, equally addictive, tracks.

The first 45 seconds of the opener, “Jacqueline,” are intimate, focusing on lead singer Alex Kapranos’ soft vocals against an acoustic guitar. After that, the band takes the listener on a non-stop neo-new wave/post-punk ride that spans the entire original eleven tracks and four of the five bonus tracks. In a day when delivering three or four good songs on an album is cause for a small celebration, Franz Ferdinand justifies a New Year’s Eve-like blowout. “Take Me Out” is the band’s first single and their breakthrough hit. Its two-act structure and infectious chorus made it one of the monster modern rock songs of 2004.

The party continues with the obsessive “Auf Achse,” the raucous “Cheating On You” and the manic “This Fire.” The upbeat “Darts of Pleasure” is a provocative tune that is later slowed down and turned into “Words So Leisured,” which serves as the disc’s only ballad.

Next up is “Michael” which, other than most of Queen’s catalog, might be the only song with obvious homosexual overtones that is being played with regularity at frat parties across the country. In the regretful “Come On Home,” Kapranos discusses the temptation and the emptiness of relationships on the road with the lyrics “I flirt with any flighty thing that falls my way…so come on home / come on home / but don’t forget to leave.”

The five bonus tracks go along nicely with the rest of the album, and there is absolutely no drop off in quality. The real gem is “Van Tango,” which was originally released on the Darts EP. The keyboards that kick in during the first chorus are absolutely delicious. The chief complaint with the disc is that at a running time just under an hour, there is plenty of room for two excellent tracks, “Love & Destroy” and “Don’t Start.” The former is currently only available on the Domino Records sampler, Semper Satago, while the latter is a B-side on the “Michael” single. Still, the original Franz Ferdinand was my choice for the best album of 2004 and this bonus disc, while not perfect, serves to improve an already exceptional product.  

~John Paulsen 


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