You Could Have It So Much Better
Music critics of the world, breathe easy. The sophomore effort from those fashionable Scottish art-rockers, Franz Ferdinand, has finally landed on your doorstep. They are the quartet to which bands like the Killers and the Bravery owe much of their success (and obsession with eyeliner). FF was the first band to nick the sparse new-wave of the ?s and give it new life. Their motto? Everything sounds better with thumping bass and synthesizers.
Now, with dozens of those aforementioned copycats littering the music scene, how do the pioneers of the sound stay relevant? By taking the old formula and improving on it. That is exactly what the boys have done with “You Could Have It So Much Better.”
Of course, the debut album employs an army of rabid fans. And fear not, the best facets of that record are still in full force here. Singer/evil mastermind Alex Kapranos’ voice is as enticing and exciting as ever, whether he’s lamenting his lost love on “Walk Away” or calling us to arms on the title track. Paul Thomson’s drums are still assured and ceaseless, the guitar work still thrilling and chilling. Relentless dance-floor numbers like “Evil and a Heathen” or “This Boy” wouldn’t sound out-of-place alongside “Take Me Out.” No bizarre experimentation or flirting with jazz fusion here.
All the familiar hallmarks of the band’s explosive debut are heard, so what’s different? What makes “You Could Have It So Much Better” more than just “Self-titled #2”? To quote the closing track “Outsiders,” “the only difference is what might be is NOW.”
Franz Ferdinand has lived up to expectations and grown into their role as kings of their scene. They now have the confidence to toy with new sounds, lyrics (“The Fallen” is a stunning example), ideas and direction. The tracklist isn’t solid slinky disco numbers this time; songs like “Eleanor, Put Your Boots Back On” and “Fade Together” show a dabbling in acoustic, Oasis-style territory that is intriguing and surprisingly fantastic. The production is heavier (and better) as well with more guitars, more drums, more vocals. More brilliance.
So we find it to be true. You could have it so much better, if only you take 41 minutes and 18 seconds out of your day to spin this record. With music this electrifying, why would you want it any other way?