Two Unrelated Reviews- Franz Ferdinand and the Riflemen

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand’s [FF] self-titled album is released tomor­row and is very antic­i­pat­ed. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to it for about six weeks now due to cer­tain con­nec­tions I have. From what I’ve read they seem to get lumped in with The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and oth­er neo-garage rock­ers. I think this is pret­ty spot-on but they thank­ful­ly have their own twists that break them from the mold a bit. Being Scottish/British helps. The songs on the album are dis­ci­plined, dri­ven and catchy as hell. For all I know FF might be some sort of math-garage hybrid, since every­thing is exact­ly right.

Open­ing with Jacque­line FF imme­di­ate­ly estab­lish a new mil­len­ni­um bohemi­an atti­tude with lines like ‘It’s so much bet­ter on holiday/ because we only work when/ we need the mon­ey.’ The album’s sin­gle is Take Me Out on track three. The main gui­tar riff in the cho­rus on this song reminds me of David Bowie’s Be My Wife with its twangy need­i­ness. The ener­gy and ten­sion con­tin­ue with The Dark of the Mati­nee and takes anoth­er moment to reassert the free­dom of the first track with a smug and saucy ‘How I’ll nev­er be/ any­thing I hate.’ Auf Achse gives me a very 8-bit RPG adven­tur­ous feel­ing, but the lyrics are accusato­ry and con­tin­ue with the sauce from Mati­nee but drop­ping the smug­ness for an almost snide feel. The next song takes this dark­er feel­ing and expands upon it, the ener­gy and ten­sion are now of an embit­tered and rag­ing sort. The song is called Cheat­ing on You.

Darts of Plea­sure is a song from their EP release and got a lot of air time on WOXY pri­or to the gen­er­al release of the LP to radio sta­tions. Its pret­ty fierce and quite in the right place track­wise because it pro­vides a great philo­soph­i­cal segue into Michael which, to me, is a John, I’m Only Danc­ing for the 21st cen­tu­ry. The album’s finale 40 ft is a great way to end with a begin­ning. It is just as dri­ven and delib­er­ate as the rest of the album but it is a changed thing, some­thing that has moved beyond all the tra­vails of the pre­vi­ous songs. It main­tains the free­dom and deter­mi­na­tion that it has had from the begin­ning but now it needs to be applied to some­thing new. Hope­ful­ly for FF more than ‘40 feet remain.’

les cara­biniers is a Godard anti-war film that in typ­i­cal Godar­d­ian fash­ion cares not a whit for the rules of cin­e­ma. Jump cuts, repeat­ed actions, break­ing the line, tiny gags, jokes about cin­e­ma, etc. This is a fairy tale about two guys who go to war for their King because they have been told it will make them rich, they com­mit hor­ri­ble atroc­i­ties and return home to find out that they get noth­ing for their work but dis­ap­point­ment. It seems very appro­pri­ate to my mind­set regard­ing all the mil­i­tary actions that the U.S. has been engaged in recent­ly. It also remind­ed me at times of Harun Faroc­ki’s Inex­tin­guish­able Fire because the dia­logue was stilt­ed and some­what rid­dlish. It is def­i­nite­ly worth a watch. Don’t get bogged down by its appar­ent shod­di­ness. I think it looks that way because Godard want­ed it to be hokey.

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