Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand's first gig was for an all-female art exhibit; the aim of the Glasgow band was to make the patrons dance. That just about sums up this photogenic foursome, whose mix of arch lyrics and catchy but decidedly raw dance rock unites the cerebral with the physical in the English art-school tradition. For once, the inevitable U.K.-press hype is justified: Franz Ferdinand's debut draws from beloved Brit pop and post-punk bands without the usual plagiarism. Favoring sweaty, uncertain rhythms over cold, processed beats, the album remains true to the band's original goal. Singer Alex Kapranos proclaims pithy quips of seduction and abandonment while nervous guitars and loose drums clang and bash. In "Take Me Out," he yearns to be picked up, murdered or both, as the band abruptly shifts from a nervous sprint to a slower, funky lashing. Louche boys with good taste, Franz Ferdinand rock as if their haberdashery depended on it.

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