Local Wire

Franz Ferdinand

The headline on the Franz Ferdinand feature in the July 30 NME reads: "Our New Album? It's Like Nothing You've Ever Heard!" Well, no. In truth, Better sounds like plenty you've heard, either during the early '80s or in the year-plus since the Scottish band's debut hit these shores. Strangely, though, familiarity only occasionally breeds contempt. Franz' musical recycling policy succeeds for two reasons: the players' preternaturally spastic exuberance, and a near-complete absence of pretentiousness. "Do You Want To" is a case in point. The song's amphetamine rhythms and closing chants of "Lucky, lucky!/You're so lucky!" are undeniably laughable, but in a good way. So, too, is belter Alex Kapranos' wacky declaration "I used to lock myself in your bathroom!" in "Well, That Was Easy," whose bouncy melody and background woo-woos leave better judgment in the dust. Granted, every time the boys slow down, as they do on "Walk Away" and "Fade Together," the spell of stupidity is broken. But when they're racing at top speed, they nearly justify NME's hyperbole, albeit for entirely different reasons.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently oversees Westword's news blog.
Contact: Michael Roberts