Sunday, January 30, 2005

I'm being a bit facetious when I crow that Franz Ferdinand is my favorite British act in well over a decade. They've only made one album and there are full-lengths I arguably prefer. A Grand Don't Come For Free, Internal Wrangler, Kid A, Walking Wounded, Southpaw Grammar, Dummy, Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements, Million Seller, Your Arsenal and Mekons Rock'n'Roll takes us through 15 years - and god knows there's great stuff I haven't heard. But, excepting Portishead (who FF may have beat anyhow) and Clinic, I can't think of a debut release from the UK I find more satisfying since...sorry, flipping through one my many half-embarassing Word files...good lord, The Lexicon Of Love.

That's fitting (and proof that Jess and I are more in sync about pop/rock than I tend to assume): wry, campy, dance-friendly, post-punk (though you don't have to know what that means), catchy as all hell and not going to let a hunger for critical adoration get in the way of these qualities. So many bands want to start at Revolver or Village Green rather than hone their pleasure principle with a "She Loves You" or a "You Really Got Me." David Lee Roth takes pride in the fact that Van Halen came out of the gate as a band whose basic template was already finessed, so that evolution wouldn't be mistaken for growing pains. It's a rare trait these days and totally worth celebrating (I wish I'd put the album on my Pazz'n'Jop ballot but I'm sure they'll do fine without my help). If the textures resemble Entertainment! and More Songs About Buildings And Food its only because the passing of time requires fresher arsenal; they're really on the Paul Revere & The Raiders' tip. I wish they were called Franz & The Ferdinands, cuz Kapranos ain't fit for a marquee, luv.

As I'm already riding the caboose of the blogosphere with this post, I'll also note that I'm digging TV On The Radio. The album's ballad-heavy (can see why they're selling "New Health Rock" with it) but I think its apropos these guys have signed to 4AD: dreamy drones whose idiosyncrasies intrigue as long you don't look them straight in the eye. The irony is that my favorite review remains a negative one.

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