After hearing one track and dismissing it as a ripoff of the Strokes (who weren't exactly the most original band themselves), I wrote off Franz Ferdinand as another band trying to ride the wave of retro rock salvation. After hearing another song by the group and having it stick in my head, I finally caved in and now I have to admit that I've been listening to the damn thing nearly every day for the past couple weeks. It's true that while Franz Ferdinand may not be the most original band out there, they do what they do better than a vast majority of other bands doing similar stuff. As a friend of mine stated, "it's almost too catchy" (with a slight look of evil on his face).
Really, though, this is nothing to be afraid of. This is 11 tracks and just under 40 minutes of rock music that really is insanely catchy and perfect for singing along with while the windows are down on your car and a sweat is breaking out on your body because your air conditioning isn't working quite right. Opening with quiet strummed acoustic guitars and crooned vocals, "Jacqueline" soon shakes loose with a totally sweet guitar riff and basically acts as a launching pad as the song blasts into a song of more hooks than you can count. "Tell Her Tonight" alternates between wanky, rockstar verses and multi-part vocal choruses that bring a bit of dumb fun in before "Take Me Out" opens with that Strokes-esque beginning but takes a corkscrew turn and slows into a full-on rock stomper.
Song after song follows with very little stumbles and plenty more singalong fun. "Auf Achse" moves through slightly dreary passages but turns around and obliterates them with rollicking moments and "Cheating On You" (which doesn't get a whole lot more lyrically deep than the title) keeps things on the rails with pure propulsion alone. Interestingly enough, it's the first single from the release ("Darts Of Pleasure") that fails to stick as well as many of the other songs on the release, rolling through re-hashed riffs and overly affected vocals. In the end, this isn't anything you haven't heard before musically, but it's a musically solid variation on something a lot of bands are doing and it does it better than most. Get set for heavy replay.