Franz Ferdinand is here, ready to bombard your stereo like the armies of Europe after its namesake’s assassination. That is, of course, assuming that the archduke’s avengers stormed the trenches of the Western Front packin’ an armory of two-finger synth lines and a disco high hat. Oh, and don’t forget the white ammo belt of awkward art-house metrosexuality.
On their debut EP, Darts of Pleasure, Franz Ferdinand bring the dance and the machismo.
The opening title track sets the pace with an octave up bass and drum intro, leading the band into a choppy rock out that seems to transmit the stink of a scoob-filled dance hall through the speakers. Smart, snappy and spot on, the groove reads like the gold ribbon entry in a hipster riff writing contest.
The stuttered down strokes, the four to the floor kick drum, the Ian Curtis wannabe breakdown; the title track “Darts of Pleasure,” sounds like an indie kid’s sugary sweet wet dream. And as if the song isn’t covered in enough geek hip to get your hips shaking, there is even a refrain hollered in German. That’s right, there is finally a band walking the earth with enough hutzpah to boast, “Ich heie Superfantastik.”
It seems that you no longer judge if a band’s cool by asking, “Do you rock?” but rather, “Sprechen sie Deutsche?”
Unfortunately, as is often the case with EPs, the rest of the songs don’t quite live up to the promise of the focus track. “Van Tango” sounds like a vaudevillian rock opera gone horribly awry, (as if a vaudevillian rock opera could go any other way), and “Shopping for Blood” is a decent attempt at bringing politics to the dance floor, but boring as all hell unless you actually care about how English dialects are a detriment to Scottish culture.
Rounded out by two demo recordings, (one of which is a redundantly unpolished version of the title track), Darts of Pleasure might seem like an unfortunately lightweight attempt at crashing the current dance punk party, but in actuality, it does exactly what an EP is supposed to do.
Indulgent missteps aside, Franz Ferdinand have collected songs with just enough wit and hook to get listeners curious.
What matters now is if they can cut the fat off their sound in time to make the great album of which they might be capable.