CD reviews for Feb. 25

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Franz Ferdinand

"Franz Ferdinand"

Available at All That Jazz for $17.98

From track one, there's a strange tension in this record. Through the entire thing, I felt the band was holding something back, and I'm not sure what that was.

Franz Ferdinand recently has become an MTV darling. With a rare tinge of conscience, the network has held up the band as its new alternative darling. Trying to show the world that it isn't completely about celebrity worship and shilling for the corporate music industry, MTV plucked this band out of obscurity in Europe for a moment in the spotlight.

Named, however strangely, after the archduke whose assassination threw into motion the events that started World War I, there is something of The Beatles in this poppy boy band. There's something of David Bowie in this art rock band. There's something of Duran Duran in this New Wave band.

This album is living room, black turtleneck dance party material for sometime mid-party.

Rated: Superfanastische.

Ministry

"Houses of the Mole"

Available at All That Jazz for $17.98

Kids these days.

The album begins with the multi-layered "No W" that sets the angry mood for the rest of the record. President Bush's voice enters in over an operatic sampling saying things such as, "We're fighting evil one person at a time," and "Psalm 23."

Blended with pissed off guitars and the voice of Al Jourgensen screaming his pointed lyrics, "Well, if I had a dollar for every time he hollers/Trust us with your hearts and minds/or I'll make you pay/ Trust me."

"No W" is probably the angriest anti-Bush song I've heard this year, and there have been a lot.

This album has a much less industrial, mechanical feel than the sound I was introduced to on 120 minutes of video for "Stigmata."

But "Houses of the Mole," released in 2004, is a good reminder of the band that I'd forgotten. Now, I realize who shaped all those bands I see with the screaming frontmen in the latest parade of industrial bands. I now recognize their bad Ministry imitations.

Rated: Listen to it backward.

The Killers

"Hot Fuss"

Available at All That Jazz for $17.95

The liner notes of this album are nothing more than face shots of the band members taken at a record company photo shoot. No lyrics. No band history. Not even a dumb list of family members that "The Killers" would like to thank.

The actual record is just as empty, with just as little to say. With a name like "The Killers," you might think this band was interesting. After all, "The Hives," "The Strokes" and "The Stills" were cool. Why not "The Killers"?

The answer to that question has more to do with the current state of the music industry and less to do with the vapid musicians in this band.

Rated: At least they write their songs.

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