When a band reaches the level of critical and commercial success Franz Ferdinand did last year with their eponymous debut, the follow up is always a contentious issue. The world is full of bands who could never repeat themselves or move on in a significant way after their defining work. Many try to reinvent themselves, pushing their sound in directions it doesn't want to go, while others stick to their guns hoping what worked once will pay off again.
With their second album, You Could Have it so Much Better, Franz Ferdinand fall into the latter category. The album is full of the same ridiculously catchy, abrupt guitar riffs, explosive rhythm section and coy, boastful lyrics as their first album but damned if it matters. Like their debut, Better is nothing but pure fun and as long as fun is all you're looking for, it's a fine album.
Let's get something straight: Franz Ferdinand aren't a serious band and they probably never will be; their songs are, with very little exception, about going out and having a blast. If you approach these new songs from this perspective, Better is the best thing to happen since dance clubs, if you're looking for something profound then look elsewhere because the band doesn't have time for you. They're too busy coming up with another melody shift in a song about hitting on girls by saying they've slept with the target's male friends to worry about anything heartfelt.
So, You Could Have it so Much Better is good but cynics will point out the band still doesn't deserve the overpowering hype they receive. They have a point but this shouldn't stop you from enjoying the album, provided you realize in a few years when pop-culture's attention shifts away from bisexual, pretty-boy guitar bands they'll probably be viewed in the same light as A Flock of Seagulls. For now, as long as they keep making songs as good as "The Fallen," "This Boy," and "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" you couldn't have it much better.