Franz Ferdinand

Record review

Phases & Stages

Franz Ferdinand

You Could Have It So Much Better (Domino/Epic)

Leave it to a band named after the man whose death opened the first chapter of the 20th century (World War I) to release a sophomore disc that feels like a sequel. The Scot-rockers' You Could Have It So Much Better isn't The Godfather Part II, however. It's more like Casino to the GoodFellas of last year's eponymous debut: a photocopy that's strong but lacks the original's clarity. Lead single "Do You Want To" is dance-rock perfection, but doesn't sound as sweet when considering 2004's "Take Me Out" was a revelation. The cast is still the same, but a few of the locations have changed. There's an unplugged quality to the gorgeous waltz "Fade Together" and a splendid glam-rock bounce to "Eleanor Put Your Boots On." "You're the Reason I'm Leaving," though, is the Wal-Mart sound Franz Ferdinand can all too easily fall into. That's not to say "The Fallen" and "This Boy" aren't impressive reprisals of past Franz classics like "This Fire." At credit's roll, Better is good, but it's no Godfather.

***

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