Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Franz Ferdinand - Matinee

(Domino, 2004)

“Take Me Out” was a huge bar-hit back in 2004, and its inescapability that semi-employed summer eventually led me to give in and seek out a physical copy after hearing my thousandth late-night play of the song. Luckily, I had a friend doing grunt work on the floor of the Virgin Megastore in Union Square at the time, so I was soon able to satisfy my curiosity by getting it and a handful of other Franz Ferdinand CD and 7” singles at steep discounts (as was necessary when living on babysitter wages). And while this one, “Matinee,” isn’t quite as towering a pop achievement as the half-Strokesian, half-disco-strut hybrid of “Take Me Out,” it’s yet another example of the band’s rather shocking ability to churn out songs that ALL SOUND LIKE HITS. No joshing: these guys were and are SMART and HOOKY as heck, what with those hi-hat boogie beats and stabby guitars, all wrapped in a crooning, fashion-conscious smarminess that is, I think, a wink-and-sarcasm-spiked update on the Duran Duran pretty-boy model. An excellent record. Absolutely! The B-side, like many of the extras on the early singles, is an alternate version of a song from the debut LP, this time a live recording of the gay-tease fave “Michael” on American radio that doesn’t differ enough from the regular to make it of any real worth. Not bad, however, and fine proof that the group can pull its shit off in concert, for those who care. And yet: the larger tendency towards Franz Ferdinand seems to be dismissal and/or an easy total-ignore due to the obvious chart-whoring and teeny-bop appeal. I’m not of that mind; for the most part, this is a guilty pleasure worth indulging. And if not now, certainly when the inevitable – and inevitably quite OK – best-of comes out. Might as well stay ahead of the curve, I reckon.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

I'm wondering myself, if, in years to come, I'll be as embarrassed about owning FF discs as I am about owning my one and only Cars LP. But, then again, I'm not THAT embarrassed about the latter. It's just that, whether you reference Cars or Duran Duran (that's a train that went by while I was otherwise engaged) or Strokes, the point is that FF is easy to listen to and hard not to like, at least in those W. days which are now history. Remains to be seen. But I'm looking forward to the new one, with a song called "Ulysses" that I haven't heard yet. These guys might be better than all those other radio-fodder, party-girl-darlings bands, mebbe.