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Franz Ferdinand

Drama-free dance-punk genius

If every band's rise to fame resembled Franz Ferdinand's, Behind the Music would cease to exist. Fortunately for VH1, and water cooler conversationalists everywhere, Franz Ferdinand isn't like every band. Charmingly devoid of drama, despite a recent almost too-tabloid-to-be-true brawl with Eminem's bodyguard, and a name that suggests otherwise (the Archbishop Franz Ferdinand's assassination sparked WWI) the four piece band seems happy to be, well, happy. You won't find any tortured artists in this outfit but that, as their music and their fan-base reflect, doesn't mean you won't find something worth listening to. They're doing it their way, and if that means getting along, pairing catchy tunes with smart lyrics and earning a devoted following straight from the get-go, well, hell, whatever works.

It might sound like the scheme was lifted from a Happy Days episode: let's be a band that plays music girls will dance to! But if we're honest, that's probably how most bands are conceived. And Franz Ferdinand is honest. Read any interview with the Scottish art rockers and they'll quickly reveal their motivations- no mysterious muses or hidden political agendas- just an unabashed desire to fill the dance floor with aforementioned females by playing pretense-free tunes that are heavy on the hooks and chock full of fun- with a dance punk edge, of course.

After notching a gig on their collective belt in 2002, the gang (bassist Robert Hardy, lead singer Alexander Kapranos, guitarist Nicholas McCarthy and drummer Paul Thomson) soon decided they needed a clubhouse. Playing it proactive, they took over an abandoned art deco warehouse in Glasgow, which they ironically christened The Chateau. Seemingly overnight, Franz Ferdinand and The Chateau became to Glasgow what Joy Division and the Hacienda were to Manchester- the hottest things in town. The band quickly became the Marcia Brady of the music industry, with suitors bearing contracts at every turn.

After signing with the humble yet well-respected label Domino in 2003, the guys released their first EP, Darts of Pleasure, then followed it up with the self-titled debut album Franz Ferdinand in 2004; further cementing their status as the catchphrase of the cool. The album, which has been heralded for its dance punk genius, is as populated with influences as extras in a Where's Waldo book. Listen closely and you'll spot the new waviness of Talking Heads, the beat beat beat of Hot Hot Heat, Blur's Britpop sensibilities and even a dollop of the Doors (dig the Jim Morrison in frontman Kapranos's singing snarl). Still, the sheer number of suggestions as to whom the band sounds like (Interpol! David Bowie! The Beatles! The Rapture!) support the theory that they've stumbled on something original.

Supplying a plot twist of sound in every track, Franz Ferdinand plays with speed and volume, and adds and subtracts guitar, drums and keyboard like a chemist who's developed the formula for rocking out. From hit single "Take Me Out" (arguably the catchiest of the bunch) to postmodern pleaser "The Dark of the Matinee" (a rollicking rumination on fame citing BBC2 Radio presenter Terry Wogan) to the glam-rockin' "Michael", the tunes never fail to excite the ear, and will undoubtedly get those ladies dancing with taking-candy-from-a-baby ease.