No News is Bad News. Join the SA Current Press Club.

Great Scots 


Great Scots

By Gilbert Garcia

If SXSW handed out awards for such things, this year's "buzz band of the year" would have unquestionably been the Glasgow quartet Franz Ferdinand.

The crescendo of hype around this group strongly recalls the reaction that greeted the Strokes' emergence three years ago, strangely fitting because on first blush this band sounds like nothing so much as a Scottish Strokes.

For one thing, Alex Kapranos' vocals are drenched in the sneering ennui of Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas. He even highlights his emotional detachment with a similar megaphone-like filter on his voice. The group also shares the Strokes' fondness for late '70s, early '80s post-punk, driven by jagged, hyperactive guitar lines and melodic high-end bass.

But, above all else, Franz Ferdinand fancies itself a dance band, and on this self-titled album you'll hear enough disco beats to make you think you're at a 1976 Andrea True Connection gig. One track, "Take Me Out," even segues from a raucous punk opening into a propulsive disco coda, without sounding the least bit contrived.

In the early '80s, when Gang of Four made punk funky, there was an ideological agenda at work. That band thought the most subversive way to facilitate revolution would be on the dance floor. Franz Ferdinand harbors no such political ambitions. The group may have lifted its name from the Austrian archduke whose killing set off World War I, but its passions are decidedly personal.

Kapranos skillfully conveys romantic obsession in all its creepy sexiness, while simultaneously seeming to be above it all. On the infectiously hooky "Tell Her Tonight," he pines: "She only shook her hips, but I saw it/she only licked her lips, but I saw it." Similarly, on "Auf Achse," he sings, "You see her/you can't touch her/you hear her/you can't hold her." Kapranos conquers his loneliness like all great rock misfits - by brooding about it rather than confronting it.

By Gilbert Garcia

San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation