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Bands to Watch: Franz Ferdinand

Thougharty dance-rock quartet Franz Ferdinand insist they are “the softestband” in tough-guy Glasgow, they actually tell several stories that endwith the phrase “We had to run from the police!” Like the time a partyat their warehouse-cum-rehearsal space got busted. “These big,overweight policemen were coming up the stairs,” says singer/guitaristAlex Kapranos, “so we were trying to get the crates of booze down theother staircase.”

Thenthere was the time when Kapranos was talked into punching a friend inthe eye, then fainted at the sight of the blood. And when guitaristNick McCarthy evaded a gun-toting mugger, and when Kapranos nearlykilled McCarthy by feeding him poisoned mustard. Let’s just say thatFranz Ferdinand are very lucky.

But it wasn’t luck that sent their single “Take Me Out” toNo. 3 on the British charts, leading one publication to declare, “Thisband will change your life!” Their self-titled record-an electrifyingsynthesis of searing guitar lines and jaunty choruses-picks up where2003’s Darts of Pleasure EP left off, with stinging hi-hats andtight riffs (think the Strokes in a disco with a handful of Ecstasy).”We don’t use any pedals or any of that rubbish,” Kapranos says.”Pedals are for people who can’t write good tunes.” He would also liketo add: “I’ve never committed any crimes-in case my mom reads this.”