Who likes pop music? Hey, I know I sure as hell do, and I'd like to introduce you to Franz Ferdinand, the hottest new group around! This self titled release is superb – stomping disco/glam/punk hits all the way, from opener "Jacqueline" to intoxicatingly danceable Darts of Pleasure… Oh! I'm sorry! I started reviewing the wrong Franz Ferdinand disc. But, believe you me, I can be forgiven. Not much is new on You Could Have It So Much Better, and, from where I sit, I guarantee you, this is the furthest thing from a problem!


Ok, maybe this is all a bit harsh. But when you're onto something good, keep going with it. I mean, the Kaiser Chiefs made as good a Franz Ferdinand album as any band has in the last 12 months of glamorous British stompabilly. Get on board everyone (who hasn't already!).


The songwriting remains as fun as ever, the guitars as funky-skinny-white-boy as physically possible, and the solid year of touring has left the boys with some more classy lyricism. "I want a car/ I want a car/ I wanna wanna." I mean, come on! The last time I had this much fun singing along with an art-nerd, I was singing "I say/don't cha know/you say/mo mo mo/I say/TAKE ME OUT."


The songs are less memorable. A couple of hooks and chorus's stand out, but nothing of the quality or catchiness of "Take Me Out" or "Michael".


So the boys have brought an acoustic guitar into the studio this time, and settled down for a few lighter tracks. They've even pulled out a piano! The crooning is back again! This time, "Jacqueline" has been replaced by another special young lady, in "Eleanor Put Your Boots On". Ok, so the change in pace doesn't make for memorable listening, but the boys need a break from their consistent string-thrashing when they're on stage, and it ain't like Kapranos can't handle the crooning – he's the indie-Buble!


The harmonies are just as great as ever. Franz Ferdinand was exceptional. You Could Have it So Much Better is excellent. However it is not nearly as groundbreaking or exciting as the original version (ouch!). Ok, ok, it's a sophomore album. It doesn't have to be groundbreaking. All it has to do is keep us interested. Well, blow me down, it's done that, and I couldn't be more pleased about it. I'm perhaps even more interested than I was when that other album dropped, and even more so again as to what their Return of the Jedi sounds like. Surely there's no need for another Franz Ferdinand. Hopefully it sounds more like You Could Have It So Much Better.


It is clear to see that these boys are "Quite spectacular," (you'll get it after a few listens), and that they can definitely record a fucking brilliantly listenable and danceable pop album, without sounding like they've sold out. I think it's safe to say we never expected KID A out of four lads from Scotland with art-nerd haircuts, a fascination with women with tri-syllabic names and a knack for getting us skinny white kids to shake our asses to guitars and drums.


You could listen to the Kaiser Chiefs, or the Futureheads, for sure, but You Could Have it So Much Better with Franz Ferdinand. The album is out now through Domino records. Keep an eye out for the critters at the Big Day Out!

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