Franz Ferdinand’s latest dance disc good, but it could have been so much better

Ben Breier


Franz FerdinandYou Could Have It So Much Better (Domino/Epic)Stater rating (out of four): ***


Franz Ferdinand’s new album is like that calculus teacher you hated in high school – no extra credit, no chances to get a better grade. What you see is what you get, and it’s a theme that the band has followed through with on its second album, You Could Have It So Much Better.

The record’s first and current single, “Do You Want To,” begins with a rather timid introduction before Franz Ferdinand drives into a balls-out stomp fest complete with minimal amounts of scat littered in the background. While it doesn’t have the immediate impact of something like “Take Me Out,” the song is innocuous enough to bounce around in your head for a few days, rendering you incapable of thinking about anything else other than this song.

Franz Ferdinand attempts to switch things up on “Fade Together,” which comes off somewhat successful. While it’s a nice, complacent acoustic guitar ditty, it’s hard not to picture Alex Kapranos singing this with a strain on his face as he keeps pompous levels of testosterone from exploding all over the place.

A lot of the songs sound like updates to songs off of the band’s self-titled debut. “The Fallen” sounds like a slighter poppier “Dark of the Matinee” without the interesting vocal segments where most of the guitar-work fades away.

Meanwhile, “You’re the Reason I’m Leaving” is rather reminiscent of “Michael,” containing nearly the same drum patterns and passive vocal inflection.

Whether you’re an indie rock fan, someone who likes top 40 radio, or an obnoxious scenester who simply nods your head at a concert while you sip on a Red Stripe, there’s something for you on Franz Ferdinand’s latest effort. Despite the fact that You Could Have It So Much Better doesn’t really build on anything dramatically new for the band, it’s a solid record that deserves your consideration.

Contact ALL correspondent Ben Breier at [email protected].