Love and Heat 

Franz Ferdinand's Sexy Pop

Franz Ferdinand

Mon March 22

Berbati's Pan

10 SW 3rd

Before assuming a name inspired by the Austrian archduke or a racehorse (depending on the story), Franz Ferdinand were called something else. The Glaswegian quartet's sound, and maybe a bit of their aesthetic, was miles away from the raucous, sexy pop they're receiving rave reviews for these days. Dubbed the best new band in Britain by the frothing music press (you don't say), Franz Ferdinand (singer Alex Kapranos, bassist Bob Hardy, drummer Paul Thomson, and guitarist/organist Nick McCarthy) the band used to be about lo-fi, art-school brainy stuff--not exactly a genre that lends itself to the masses. Eventually, and after becoming disillusioned, they threw in the towel on the arty stuff and gave in to pop's expansive charms. And they made the change so well you can't help but love their self-titled new record--and be turned on by the songs contained within.

Kicking off with "Jacqueline," the song's protagonist, Ivar, is nothing short of a prick. "Working on a desk/When Ivar/Peered above a spectacle/forgot that he had wrecked a girl." Seduction happens in "The Dark of the Matinee" ("You take your white finger/slide the nail under/the top and bottom buttons of my blazer/relax the fraying wool, slacken ties/and I'm not to look you in the eye"). Those deeply arousing lyrics opening the song make it hard to stay unexcited. Then there's "Cheating on You," an ode to that all too common type of escapism found in the Northwest, when you realize you've fallen in love: "Goodbye girl/You know you own me/Yes I'm a loser." And because he knows it's love, he goes ahead and cheats on her.

Along with lyrics to get you all hot and bothered, the band's dance beat causes palpitations similar to that of acts like Pulp, Talking Heads, Pop Will Eat Itself's Cure for Sanity, and the Pooh Sticks, circa "Young People." God help me.

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