One of the most hyped bands of 2004 was Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand. The band, named after the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination sparked the beginning of World War I, is a four-piece outfit with a very original sound. The guitars are hard, but the band’s sound is unique and has a sort of dance floor vibe to it. Many have hailed the band’s debut self-titled album as one of the best records of the year and it has received numerous awards and critical praise. After hearing the first two singles, I decided to give the album a listen and while the critics may be going a little overboard in their praise of Franz Ferdinand, it is still a pretty decent record.

The album begins with the song “Jacqueline,” which starts off the record quite well. About thirty seconds into the song, it becomes evident what type of sound the listener should expect from the rest of the album. The guitar riffs are frantic and loud, but lead singer Alex Kapranos’ lyrics could use some work. Track two is the short but sweet “Tell Her Tonight.” The guitars are once again awesome and the vocals are unique, but still catchy and fit in well with the song. The next song “Take Me Out” also happens to be the first single from the album. This is arguably the best song on the album. The guitar riff is totally infectious and you would be hard pressed not to find yourself bobbing your head along to it.

One thing I noticed about some of the songs and lyrics on the record is that they have a sort of homo-erotic ness about them. This can especially be heard on one of the better songs “Michael” in which Kapranos sings “…so sexy, I’m sexy so come and dance with me Michael.” Besides “Michael,” other standout tracks include “This Fire,” “Dark of the Matinee,” and “Auf Achse” which all contain good examples of the band’s groovy guitar licks. While Franz Ferdinand does contain about a half a dozen or so good songs, some of the others were a bit boring and repetitive. A few of the songs including “Darts of Pleasure” and “Cheating On You” were just a bit too much of the same and while they aren’t horrible songs, they certainly aren’t some of the better ones.

Overall, Franz Ferdinand has produced a solid debut album. There are at least five or six good songs and for an album that only contains eleven songs, that’s pretty good. “Take Me Out” is easily one of the best songs of 2004 and the band has some of the best guitar riffs I’ve heard in a while from a new rock band. The vocals are great on a few of the songs, but they could use work on some of the other songs. The band’s sound may be a type of acquired taste for some people, but if you were a fan of Brit-pop back in the mid 1990s, then you will probably like Franz Ferdinand. It should be interesting to see if the band can match or top the success of their debut album with their next record.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Jacqueline
02. Tell Her Tonight
03. Take Me Out
04. Matinee
05. Auf Acshe
06. Cheating On You
07. This Fire
08. Darts of Pleasure
09. Michael
10. Come on Home
11. 40 ft

Run Time: 38:45