A guitar crashes through an office window and off we go. There is no long-winded intro here. If you are lonely they are there for you, but you’ll need to keep up with them. It’s January 2004 and Franz Ferdinand have announced themselves on to the scene with their second single Take Me Out (after their debut and minor bit Darts of Pleasure in late 2003). The song builds as we career towards a chorus in a crescendo of guitars and drums. And then something strange and unexpected happens.
The guitars become less frantic and meld into one with the drums. If you close your eyes, it could be the sound of a foot or fist repeatedly smashing a fascist face, or water pounding against a granite edifice. A crack appears and a guitar riff is unleashed that burrows its way far enough in to lodge itself firmly in the listener’s head, like a corrective ear worm for the fascist mind or stick of dynamite, ready to blow the edifice sky high. The vocals are unleashed and we are carried along in the fuzz of angular guitars, tight drums and the continual demand to take them out.
This felt new. This felt different. Yes the charts were a bit more eclectic, something we looked at in the Supersonic piece, but Will Young? Victoria Beckham? Shane effing Ritchie? Take Me Out and Franz Ferdinand brought some art-school smarts and craft to the charts and were warmly embraced by the indie kids, who propelled the song up to the dizzying heights of number 3 in the UK Top 40. They had a look and a sound that set them apart from many of their contemporaries, even though critics and fans alike would try to lump them in with other indie landfill acts like The Kooks or The Vines.
Perhaps if they were called ‘The Ferdinands’…Listen to JOHN BARNES with A Celtic State of Mind here:
On the pitch, Celtic started January 2004 in dizzying form with wins against Rangers, Ross County, Hearts, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock as part of a winning 25-game SPL run. The team would go on to secure the league by a handsome 17-point margin. In Europe, Celtic could not quite hit the heights of Seville, a game Franz Ferdinand drummer Paul Thomson recalls watching in between band rehearsals. They dropped from the Champions League into the knock-out stages of the UEFA Cup. FC Teplice and FC Barcelona fell victim to the Bhoys in Green and White and thoughts turned to another final (this time in Sweden) before the Yellow Submarine of Villarreal CF knocked us out at the quarter final stages.
Franz Ferdinand went on to release 5 Top 10 UK albums, including the number 1 You Could Have it so Much Better. They continue to sit in the left-field of UK Indie and delight fans old and new at festivals and gigs around the world, but for many Take Me Out remains both a stand-out and a timeless indie classic in a back catalogue full of great songs.