Franz Ferdinand is one of those arch little bands that music magazines like Spin love to name-check. Like so many groups-du-jour, Franz Ferdinand hang around on a kind of listener's "to-do" list of groups heard of but not yet heard. They've received the Mercury Prize and their album is up for a Grammy, so it's time to check out Franz Ferdinand before their 15 minutes of darlinghood is over.
Their self-titled album is FF's first full-length endeavor. The natty Scottish foursome, named for the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Ferdinand whose assassination set WWI in motion, have ridden into the current music scene on a wave of haughty post-punk nerve. Cheek-by-jowl with bands like Interpol and the Killers, Franz Ferdinand are part of the fresh crop of mods who, along with bratty American cousins like the Strokes or the White Stripes, are squeezing out angst-rock, rock-rap and various Limp Bizkit spawn.
The Franz Ferdinand sound relies on a solid arty, confident, post-punk/modern-rock foundation--catchy, dance-able tunes with repetitive beats and repetitive lyrics that drive the songs home. Standout tracks include "the dark of the matinée"--one of the album's catchiest with its steady, jangling beat---the somber "auf achse" and "take me out."