Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand (2004)

Sony / Domino

JOHNNY: I'm Johnny "the sharpshootin' wizard" Mozzleton. Welcome to the latest edition of --[audience shouts] "WHAT'S, THE, HYPE?!" You know the drill, folks, but here's a refresher; here at "What's the Hype?," we bring on some of the recent most hyped bands to determine whether or not it's justified! As you know, some of our shows hardly even end in actual determinations, but what's more fun than indecision and a group of contestants going home with nothing more than a boatload of potential? Today, we have Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand in the studio. How are you guys doing? ENTIRE BAND: [interlaced mumbling] Fine, thanks. JOHNNY: That's great. Nicholas, I hear you're a classically trained pianist. Is this true? NICK: It's just "Nick." And yes. I…I actually used to play dru– JOHNNY: That's super. Alex, from what our researches have handed me, I see the band was named after the Austro-Hungarian archduke whose murder sparked World War I? ALEX: Yes. JOHNNY: Well, how did that come about? NICK: Well, actually, we were all sitting around watching the horse races, and there was this one horse named The Archduke, and the conversation eventually rolled around to– JOHNNY: That's fantastic. Well, before we get to the game…Richard, why don't you tell our fabulous guests what they can win! ["Price is Right"-esque bells and whistles] RICHARD: Well, Johnny, the prize tonight is fantastic – a promise from Sony Records not to drop you when they decide to merge! [maroon curtain opens to reveal greasy, three-piece-suit exec with gleaming smile and shiny new contract in hand, band casually shrugs and nods in agreement with each other] JOHNNY: Spectacular! Alright, before we get to our game, let's go over the rules: Each band member will pick a band from our "BIG BOARD" up here they think is key to the sound of Franz Ferdinand's self-titled album, and explain themselves to back it up. Our judges will then award points based on accuracy of pick and description, relevance of pick, and balance between whether the choice just influences Franz Ferdinand or provides the entire basis for their sound. You must score 1000 points to qualify as appropriately hyped. You can score anywhere from 0-400 points per pick. Let's begin! Bob, why don't you pick first? BOB: Sure. I'll take…[scans over board, passing The Walkmen, The Libertines, and, slowly, Hot Hot Heat] U2. JOHNNY: Oooo, quite the interesting pick! Elaborate, Bob! BOB: Well, if you listen to "Auf Ausche," when Alex croons the words "you see her, you can't touch her, you hear her, you can't hold her" with his 1985-era Bono smoothness, he could create mass crowds as if he was atop a building without a permit. JOHNNY: Nice. Judges? [glances down] And our judges say…175 points. Although there is a definite U2 influence in "Auf Ausche," it doesn't quite prevail for the entirety of the album. Sorry, Bob. Paul, your pick? PAUL: The Strokes. JOHNNY: Of course. Go ahead. PAUL: Well, just listen to us. We're raw pop…we exhibit that garage edge without sounding too underground, but with that playful riffing that makes you want to dance like you just listened to the last Modest Mouse album for the forty-eighth time. That fuzzy, casual style of the vocals, and friendly yet interesting hooks. JOHNNY: True, true. Judges, what do you say? [glances down, raises eyebrows in shock] They said 150 points. PAUL: What?! JOHNNY: It's true that a Strokes comparison is circumstantiated, but the judges couldn't give you a great number of points based on the fact that this means your hype is created out of hype that isn't that old to begin with. PAUL: It's not our fault we get lumped in with someone who was hyped a couple years ago as much as us. JOHNNY: Sorry Paul, the judges have made their call. PAUL: That's horseshit. JOHNNY: [somewhat off to the side] Censors…could you get that? Thanks. [clears throat, faces band] You've got 325 points so far, you need 675 to qualify. Nick, how about your pick? NICK: Well, I do like Interpol, but– JOHNNY: Interpol it is! NICK: No, I– JOHNNY: Describe it! NICK: Damn it. Well, I like Interpol…but I don't really think we sound much like them though… ALEX: We don't. Pick something else. JOHNNY: That's my call…Nick, make your real pick. NICK: [boyishly smiles] Talking Heads. JOHNNY: Elaborate. NICK: We all definitely own some Talking Heads records, and, although I don't think a new wave influence is that prevalent in our music, the vocals definitely have that stutter-step, stern-look flow to them, especially in the single "Take Me Out," with that cool tempo change in the beginning. "Cheating on You" is further proof. JOHNNY: [sighing] Judges? 300 points. They said you use them as a swell influence while hardly ripping them off in any sort of manner, blah blah blah. [rolls eyes] Terrific. [perks up suddenly] Well, you need 375 points to win it! What it'll it be Alex? ALEX: None of these. JOHNNY: None? I'm not sure we can give you points if– ALEX: Look, Johnny. It's unfortunate that we deal with these half-assed comparisons on a daily basis, but the truth is, we don't really sound like them. We're wiry, catchy, rhythmical, energetic, and passionate. We combine garage, indie rock, and dance hall vibes like it was our job. Well, scratch that, it is our job. Have you heard "Michael?" We literally spit the words in your face. That's all. JOHNNY: Wow. Well, we'll see what the judges have to say…[background drum roll] and…our judges say…375 points! They awarded the number ironically, solely basing it on your unwillingness to comply with the rules on a guess that would've lost you the game for sure. But you finish with 1000 points regardless, and Franz Ferdinand can be crowned as appropriately hyped…barely. Congratulations on your narrow victory, and we'll see you all next time on everyone's favorite game show– [concluding audience shouts] "WHAT'S – THE – HYPE?!"