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Ignore the hype and just listen

March 18, 2004|Kevin Bronson

As if the words weren't enough, the notoriously breathless British newspaper New Musical Express introduced its readers to the Scottish quartet Franz Ferdinand with an exclamation point -- "This band will change your life!"

"We thought, 'Oh, really?' " singer-guitarist Alex Kapranos says. "That's a rather arrogant claim, and I would never make it myself, but I guess it's really lovely that NME felt that way. We'd rather have that than everybody ignoring us, but the hyperbole has nothing to do with why we make music. We distance ourselves from it.... You have to take it with a pinch of salt."

Kapranos is talking buoyantly Monday afternoon as the band (named after the archduke whose assassination triggered World War I) is driven from an appearance at KCRW-FM to another at Amoeba Records. "I've got my shirt off for the first time in months," he reports, praising the weather and his foursome's good fortunes -- the band recently signed a lucrative U.S. deal with Epic; the self-titled album of jaunty, danceable tunes continues to earn critical plaudits; and the group's Friday show at the Troubadour is sold out. (Another concert has been added June 5 at Avalon Hollywood; tickets go on sale Saturday.)

Oh, and one exhausting plane flight from London ago, Kapranos and bandmates got to meet one of their heroes: Morrissey. Apparently the singer declined to talk to a journalist, so NME orchestrated a sit-down with the young Glaswegians to obtain background on Morrissey's forthcoming album.

"It was the first time I ever interviewed anybody," Kapranos says. "But he was amazing ... very relaxed, very charming." And the interviewer's opinion on the new album? "Great songs," he says, "and lyrically he's in top form."


Franz Ferdinand, with Twinstar and the Tyde, the Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Friday, 8 p.m. Sold out. (310) 276-6168.

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