2 years ago no one had heard of Franz Ferdinand.They were just another British guitar band struggling to get out of the underground and into the mainstream.Whlist America turned out bands like The Strokes,The White Stripes and Kings Of Leon.British guitar music was off the radar.But in early January 2004 Franz released one of the finest guitar records in recent years ('Take me out').A mix of Dance,Post-Punk and Indie,it became an instant radio hit around the world and put British music back in the mainstream.That year Franz Ferdinand sold 5 million copies of their sefl-titled debut album,Played 250 shows to over a million people and won nearly every award they were nominated for.So making that 'difficult' second album is going to be easy.......or is it?.
Franz Ferdinand are:
Recorded in the Scottish countryside at singer Alex Kapranos' private farmhouse between February and July this year.'You could have it so much better' is the sound of Franz Ferdinand spreading their wings and taking their sound into strange new directions.Whlist their debut was more of a Pop based affair.This time Franz have created a more rockier album that leaves other Indie bands playing catch up.But can it top the debut?.
Even through they've only got two albums under their belts.Franz know how to introduce an record.Last time it was the slow burning masterpiece 'Jacqeline' with it's acoustic strumming and Smiths' style lyrics.This time it's the complete opposite.'The Fallen' opens the album with a distorted Matinee-meets-Zepplin riff before turning into a classy yet shambolic Post punk classic.''So they say your trouble boy,just because you like to destroy,all the things that bring the idoits joy,well who gives a damn about a little destruction'' sings Kapranos urgently the sign of a man ready to push his band forward.The guitars and vocals harmonize perfectly on this track.'The Fallen' is one of the finest song Franz have done and is the first of many 'Rock' moments on the album.
First single 'Do you want to' is the darker and moodier older brother of 'Take me out'.With most of it's lyrics been taken from chat up lines that were yelled in Kapranos' ear at a boozy party in Glasgow one night (''Your famous friend well I blew him before ya oh yeah'') after the band massive homecoming gig.'Do you want to' is a extremely addictive pop record mainly because the line ''Do-do do-do-do-do-do-do'' will get stuck in your head for weeks after you hear it.The guitar riff repeats throughout the whole song like that on 'Take me out' which creates a good effect.The bass and drums work incredibly well together and the big build up at the end is a great finale.
Fourth track 'Walk away' shows a more softer side to Franz which was rarely seen on their debut.An stripped back acoustic track with only Kapranos on Guitar and McCarthy on Piano.It shows how well the pair's musicial talents work together.'You're the reason i'm leaving' is classic Franz at it's best.Sharp riffs,funky bass and pounding drums.It's nice to hear that they haven't fully forgot about that vintage sound they once had.
'Eleanor put your boots on' is the most heartwarming track on the whole album.A mixture of Beatles style pop and psychedelic lyrics (''But if you run you can run to that coldy island rollercoster.Rid across to the highest point and leap across the open water '').The song is a masterpiece,glowing with confidence and hope.It's a great addition to the album and deserve to be released as a single in the near future.
'Well that was easy' is perfect in all departments.With only one verse and a chrous to the whole song.Franz change speed and key several times to make it a classic.It's lyrics are quirky yet cool (''I watched you clean the filth off your phone dial,So i could ring the things your finger picked up'') and instruments all work greatly.
But after this things start going downhill a little as Franz start forgeting what they're aiming for.The band seem to get lost in their quest for perfection..The rest of the album is a more rushed and uninspried affair.A few of the songs seem to lack depth and personality.There is a slight return to their older Arty pop sound on the second half of the album but it's nothing compared to some of their older work.Things do get picked up with final track 'Outsiders',the most expermental track on the whole album.A mix of tinny funk guitars and paranoid dance beats backs up Kapranos' cool and calm vocals creating a Street spirit meets Gang of four racket.It's a great ending end to a even greater album.
Overall, 'You could have it so much better' is great.It succeeds where so many other 'difficult' second albums have failed by recapturing the greatness of it's predacessor.You'll discover new reasons to love it every you press play.Franz have ditched their cold and calculating sound to become a dirty and passionate Rock n' roll band.Franz fans old and new will find this enjoyable and yes......it's better than the debut.Who ever said that change was a bad thing?
+Cool new sound
+Better than the debut
-Some tracks lose focus
-Most of the songs are too short
Do You Want To
Well That Was Easy
You're The Reason I'm Leaving
Eleanor Put Your Boots On
Thanks for Reading!