I remember when Franz Ferdinand's second album dropped through the mailbox - I put it straight on and was happily run through by the dashing, rapier sharp opener 'The Fallen'. The opening gambit is a rakish lead section that charges into a duelling twin guitar line, the two melodies jousting and intertwining insouciantly. It only gets better from there - rat-a-tat vocal delivery in the verses and powerful choruses, leading up to a bold singalong section then a delightfully knackered solo tied into the outro. This song oozes confidence, barging its way into your memory. And now, 'The Fallen' is set to barge into the charts as the third single to be taken from the number one album You Could Have it So Much Better.
But after the great expectation and furious billboard hype has calmed down, there seems to have been a general consensus that Y.C.H.I.S.M.B. is nowhere near as complete as their iconic self-titled debut. There's too much fumbling, and some clearly inferior filler. The first few tracks are actually its saving graces, a trilogy of highly polished gemstone songs that, not unreasonably, worked the critics into a fevered hyperbole frenzy at the time of their release. They're breathtaking - the unadulterated crack-addictive hit of guitar pop in its very purest form. And that's exactly what Franz Ferdinand have always been aiming for. On Newsnight Review, Alex Kapranos surprised me by renouncing the term art rock, instead saying that he wanted Franz to be a pop band (albeit one so good as to tap into the transcendental, universal power of truly great pop music). Franz are aiming to enter the canon inhabited by songs like 'Brown Sugar', 'Leader of The Gang' and 'Prince Charming'... glamorous, memorable hits that'll be filling dancefloors at student union indie nights, hipster house parties and even wedding receptions twenty years from now. Listening to both 'The Fallen' and the relentless catchy and glitzy 'Do You Want To' again a few months after their initial release, I have to say they might just have done it.
9John Brainlove's Score