Two Unrelated Reviews- Franz Ferdinand and the Riflemen


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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