Sound — 10
If nothing else, Franz Ferdinand's killer sound is enough to get me smiling. Though they might have the same influences as several of their contemporaries, they way they arrange and execute their art does not fail to impress me. From what I've heard, this album, and any other subsequent albums of the band, were initially not meant to have any titles. They were simply to be called "Franz Ferdinand," only distinguishable by a different colour scheme. However, things changed and the title was changed to "You Could Have It So Much Better With Franz Ferdinand" after which the "With Franz Ferdinand" was dropped. Just a bit of mindless gossip to satisfy the website. Franz keep loyal to their sound, though they expand their borders with a few adventures into '60s-laced psychedelic pop a-la The Beatles. Their more familiar numbers have a much rougher, punked edge to them, expecially the vocal delivery. Plus, there's the insertion of one more jagged guitar to grate your eardrums. Sadly, there aren't many musical innovations floating around, and sorry to say, Franz weren't the ones find this elusive quality. Nevertheless the sound does not fail to deliver. There is a much greater variety in sound on this offering that in the debut, with the abrasive punk made more a abrasive, the disco driven up the wall, and a few surprising romantic ballads with an undeniably Franzy feel.
Lyrics — 9
At first listen you get the impression that Franz Ferdinand, Kapranos and McCarthy in particular, are perhaps a bit too smart for their own pants. However, you quickly learn to appreciate and love some of the witty, sharp and sometimes unexpected rhymes which, I must say, add that extra dash of substance needed to keep you engrossed. How could you possibly fault such an ending line as this: "Stalin smiles; Hitler laughs; Churchill claps Mao Tse Tsung on the back?" Even though certain moments can cause a bit of a cynical sneer - "I love your friends, they're all so arty" - these lyrics are a vast improvement on the relatively sparse wording in their debut. The lyrics, as usual, combine with the spastic rythmns and sultry grooves to induce in you an unquenchable desire to tap your foot, nod your head and grin. That said, can Kapranos ever fail to deliver vocally?
Overall Impression — 9
Ever since Franz entered the scene they've managed to hog a very lucrative niche in the current indie scene (trying to avoid pigeon-holing). Their unique brand of blatant irony, nervy guitar work and throbbing, rubber-bass has been further distilled and this album seems to move them further away from their contemporaries and into a more vivid Franz-ville. By far the most exciting and gripping is the superb opener "The Fallen." Other highlights include "This Boy," the sumptuous "Eleanor Put Your Boots On," the unmistakably groove of "I'm your Villain" and the very interesting closer "Outsiders." The most endearing aspect of this album is the no-fear, very confident approach to the songs, there is not a hint of uncertainty. Also, though some songs are not that great, there are no blatant fillers. On the less sunny side of things, too many tracks start and finish in an disturbingly abrupt fashion, while others seem to lack any definite direction, simply relying on the usual razor-sharp guitars, throbbing bass and irony to keep the album moving. In the event that this album disappeared from my possesion, I have to admit that I would get something else, though this would undoubtedly be an agonising decision. I like this album quite a lot.