FRANZ FERDINAND Franz Ferdinand (Domino)
2004's first official bright young things, Franz Ferdinand arrive at just the right time for the bouncier sections of the music press to deploy them as a diversionary tactic to finally enable the quiet discarding of the absurd pretence that The Strokes' second album wasn't a crushing disappointment - put that old hat down, kids, what's rumbling over there?! And, cannily, for listeners yet to become aware of Gang Of Four, Orange Juice, Talking Heads, Suede, "Modern Life Is Rubbish"-era Blur or the fact that Jarvis Cocker already rocked the jumble sale look a decade ago it might just work. And how Franz Ferdinand's labelmates Clinic must be kicking themselves, because, save for the image and the tunes, these could be they.
Those tunes, then: awkward, angular and cloaked in a fashionably vague and fuzzy Strokesian anti-sheen, somewhat incongruously some might think, by Cardigans and Saint Etienne producer Tore Johansson, they're often topped with a form of mannered yelping that suggests a restrained Lena Lovich. "Take Me Out" might be their one enduring contribution to humanity, a classic in its sounds-good-whilst-browsing-in-the-record-shop sorta way, although possibly mainly due to its similarity to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' funktastic "Can't Stop". Some wry, knowing lyrics help pass the time as well, e.g. "I'm on BBC2 now/telling Terry Wogan how I made it". But I fear that for anyone over a certain age, or with a record collection of a particular minimum width, Franz Ferdinand will be doomed to exist in the shadow of their influences.