on 30 December 2005
Many of my friends think this album is a waste of a cd. Apparently "Do you want to" made no sense, the video was stupid and the song was about nothing.
In fact, "Do you want to" is the song that lured me into this album. This defines what FF are; the slashy guitar tones and the dodgey, funny lyrics/vocals come in and you remember why you liked "Fire", "Take me out" and "Dark of the matinee".
This album is much like their last, but with more songs that make their origins and influences more obvious to the listener. Songs that stand out are: "The Fallen", "Do You Want To", "This Boy" (similar to "Micheal" on their last album), and "walk away is a subtle slow tune that hasn't really been tried very much by Franz ...but it works really well, possibly the best vocal track on the album. Its amazing how they've come up with a huge range of decent tracks in just over a year...they really tried on this album, and it shows through the retroness they create in the recording studio. A must have for any Franz fan, and an excellent album to own anyway. 10/10!
on 5 October 2005
Franz Ferdinand hit the ground running with their self-titled debut album. At the time, when I listened to the album I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, or since the other amazing debuts in the past like The Stone Roses. I also wondered if they could even reach this height again, or would they drift away into the ocean with the likes of The Seahorses who called it a day when they knew they couldn't better their debut.
Franz Ferdinand know they will fall by the own sword when it inevitably all does turn sour, like The Stone Roses, by the sheer quality and musical depth of their previous albums. It was a brave move to follow it up, and let me tell you - they have pulled it off.
The album starts with a statement. Fallen has a long instrumental start that had me a little worried at first. Had they turn pretentious? Nah, just grabbing the attention of the listener. This attention is held in a tight grip until the album finishes. A truly great album has this type of quality, whereby the listener is compelled to listen and stops the album becoming a background track to a good night. There is diversity in the tracks. There was a slight criticism of the debut being a bit samey. I think this has disappeared due to the clever placement of tracks, slower tracks pepper the track listing with 'Walk Away', 'Eleanor Put Your Boots On' and 'Fade Together' breaking up the otherwise fast paced riot that Franz Ferdinand bring with them.
These slower tracks, do they work? Can Franz do slow? Yes they can. Sounds a little odd when you first hear 'Eleanor Put Your Boots On', not the Franz we know and love I thought, but it grows on you. Franz Ferdinand show they are capable of delivering surprises - something that is especially required after the surprise of the debut. This extra dimension they have found makes this album. It shows certain maturity in their song writing and album production.
The tracks in general have the typical change in rhythm and pace that can be associated with Franz Ferdinand, in fact without needing to be told, any one who has the debut could easily guess this is a follow up. A couple of tracks sound like they are continuations of debut efforts - 'This Boy' follows 'Michael' especially well. 'Walk Away' is my standout track on the album. Brilliantly gentle, with guitar bends and backing vocals. This track does have a slightly more mainstream appeal that should put it in a good position for radio play. This is one of the rare occurrences on the album where you feel their approach had been tapered slightly to catch the largest audience possible. This is a one off though, I am pleased to say the album has not sold out to mainstream in the same manner as Electric Soft Parade's follow-up to the debut 'Holes In Walls'. (Became too bland and commercial - thus losing all of their main qualities).
Overall this album delivers the Art Rock dance hall musical riot that we all hoped for, and partly expected. The new dimensions added stop the album becoming a cheating copy of the debut. Welcome back Franz, nice to hear you.
*** Like: - Joy Division, Gang of Four, Pixies, Interpol and thankfully like Franz Ferdinand ***
on 7 November 2005
On hearing this album, the format reminded me so much of Oasis latest album.
Not the sound, but the one red herring track (the first released single) in each case.
For Oasis, it was Lyla. A good song yes, but nothing like the rest of the album. Here, we have Do You Want To, which again is a great powerful song, but nothing like the rest of the album.
That aside, the art-rockers go from strength to strength. A really cohesive album from the boys here, some outstanding songwriting, and an album so creativly diverse it's untrue. There's no filler, and every track is a gem.
Next single Walk Away is perhaps their finest ever moment. It's a track they've had kicking about since early 2004, but has been so expertly produced and harmonised it'll be a crime if it isn't a number one.
If i had to pick the albums highlights, i'd personally go for:
Do You Want To
*Walk Away* - Album Star Track
Eleanor Put Your Boots On
Evil And A Heathen
do yourself a favour and get this album. Absolute genius!
I'm somewhat disadvantaged in assessing this collection because I've never heard the first album - but believe me, it's on my Christmas List! In my experience, second albums released hastily on the back of a successful debut are nothing to write home about. And Mercury prize winners are another cause for suspicion in my book. However, this one is a big exception. It's imaginitive, interesting and (after quite a few listens) entertaining. But you've got to play it a lot of times and give it a chance! With the first hearing, I didn't think I'd enjoy it. And I was right - I didn't - apart from a couple of the more conventional-sounding tracks such as Eleanor and Walk Away. But that's not the time to write a review, which I suspect is the problem with most of the negative reviews here. Giving an album one star because it's not how you would like it to be misses the whole point of objective appraisal. Would you say Beethoven was rubbish because it's not like Coldplay? To my mind this is an excellent album. The dry wit of the lyrics in particular reveals itself gradually the more times you listen. I wouldn't normally resort to filling my review by quoting lyrics but I can't resist including the phrases "I've watched you clean the filth off your phone dial" and "As you walk away, Radio 4 is static". The melodies are unusual but they grow on you and are all the more satisfying for that. It may sound unlikely but at times the sound of the band approaches that of Captain Beefheart's early 70's Magic Band, with a driving bass, thumping drums and a relentless Telecaster rhythm, particularly on "I'm Your Villain". I've not heard another band get near that sound before (and if you like it, get yourself a copy of the astonishing Trout Mask Replica). An original and clever album. Not dramatic enough for five stars but - buy it, give it time and it will reward you.
They really are asking for it with that album title. The thing is though this second album is unlikely to engender many derogatory comments based on the fact that the listener really could do better listening to say The Arcade Fire album or the new one by My Computer even if it is true which in my opinion it is. That said they are both superb albums that to try to tease some elastic into the normal conventions of pop/rock music. You could never say that about Franz Ferdinand, as they are way too busy assimilating from the past but that’s okay. As long as they do it as well they do for two thirds of this album not too many will complain.
Franz Ferdinand are not the type of band to make earnest sociological statements even if they don’t “Give a damm about the profits of Tesco”, or the sort of band given to fey introspection…no they want to release great glam stomping irony free behemoths like the single “Do You Want To”. To my mind it’s good that someone does, and even better when they do it as well as this. In fact the first three tracks off this album are the best excuse for having knees and elbows I’ve heard since Pulp were in their pop pomp. The album sags a bit in the middle but then so do I. And they could surprise you with the effective plaintive ballad “Fade Together “where Alex Kopranos sounds in severe danger of getting emotional. The woozy off kilter rhythms of “Eleanor Put Your Boots On” see a subtle change in direction while “Well That Was Easy” has more gear changes than a Grand Prix before they return to the chunttering dynamics that everyone associates with them for “I’m Your Villain”.
There are a plethora of bands doing the revivalist thing around at the moment and while I wouldn’t claim for one minute that Franz Ferdinand are the best of the bunch ( Interpol win that particular award hands down ) they are probably the band having the most fun doing it and their sense of enjoyment is actually quite infectious. So no second album blues for them then. Franz Ferdinand are more than happy to let others drown in miserablism and foggy angst. Quite right because they’d be rubbish at it. That would be one area where you could have it so much better. As for music as sprightly and caustically funky as this ….well for the most part you’d be hard pushed.
on 25 November 2005
I bought the first album as a Christmas present for my ex and unfortunately never actually manage to listen to it. But I bought this one just out of pure curiosity. (Also I like their sort of style). And am so not disappointed. All songs are equally as good and loud and makes you want to dance (or at least made you feel as if you just come back from a concert!). It is very rock and rolly 70s era like - just the style of their music I suppose. Kind of like the Shadows mix with the Beatles with Ocean Colour Scene thrown in the middle. I am the master of depressing music - but this album is very tongue in cheek, bril - a real gem!
on 1 October 2005
This is great. FF are a wonderfully tight band. They have that all-important factor - a sound that is their own - even if has many nods to their influences. This album is one catchy hook after another, and it will be great live as it has a really spontaneous feel to it. Feels like it was knocked out in a couple of weeks. It is fresh and punky. And they've got that disco bass line going on all the time. Best tracks are rollocking opener 'The Fallen', the soon-to-be-classic 'Walk Away', the title track which starts off sounding like the Fall, and closer, Outsiders.
I'm glad that take care over their recordings, whilst simulatenously not spending an age perfecting every note. One album each year for the next 5 years from these guys would be fine, thanks.
on 28 September 2005
Forget making it big in the music industry, the real challenge these days is trying to create a better second album than the first album after all you can spend your entire life writing your first album but only a span of months writing your second.
An artists true test of talent or genius as its now called is writing multple high quality albums with the second traditionally being the best and kicking the debut album out the door, i.e Pixies, Supergrass, Kings of Leon, Muse for example. Or you could do a Badly Drawn Boy / Air and do a soundtrack to a film as your second, wherby no one really can dissaprove and theres not much pressure either?
Second thing is what on earth you write, do you bring the strings quartet in and ham the music up to ridiculous proportions, go a much darker, happier route than last time or like Franz Ferdinand do you create more of the same as last time and add two soft songs? (Fade Together, Eleanor put your boots back on). Yup well lets do that then.
Considering Franz Ferdinand has only been together for two or three years before their debut came out, there can't have been much of problem here. They certainly did make the girls dance in 2003, but would they still do it now?
You could have it so much better is basically Franz Ferdinand's debut but with 2 changes, 1;) The two soft dylan, revolver acoustic songs which are quite good but slow the album down a bit and 2:) This Boy and last track Outsiders are slightly darker in tone and with its use of some bizarre synth thing used for zombie movies. Quite good though.
The rest of it is business as usual, really, with I'm Your Villain and What You Meant being my personal single friendly highlights, I'm Your Villain being very sharp and eargasmic. The riff sounds very much like 'take me out' so make of that what you will. And the DVD is standard stuff, same sort of thing Bloc Party bundled with their album.
A band like Franz Ferdinand don't really need to change or be different that much really, any band that sounds directly like the early 80s can't do a lot new or go any different direction because that would ruin everything thats likeable in a postmodern way. They've done enough to make the girls dance for now, we'll see what happens in two years time, maybe everyone will have moved to early 90s raves in manchester and making the girls dance there.
on 6 October 2005
Having loved the debut album I was not expecting too much in terms of change in formula but 'You Could Have It So Much Better' goes straight to a higher level. The unmistakable guitar sound is still there ( almost a Big Country style signature)but everything else is much more refined. The production is excellent to allow the distinctive vocals to shine. Every song is delivered with 100% commitment and means there is not a bad track to be heard. If I had to pick a favourite track it would be 'Eleanor Put Your Boots On' as it is just so different.
The debut Franz Ferdinand album was okay. Lots of samey material, with a couple of standout tracks to keep the listener happy. The whole thing was let down by some pretty lo-fi audio engineering as well (sounds thrashy on my Arcam/Quad set-up).
This new album is varied, well produced, well engineered and represents a blooming of the potential suggested by te debut album. This has been a stunning period for new albums (McCartney, Stones, Neil Young, Simple Minds, Super Furry Animals) and this new offering from the slightly eccentric art rockers is no let down. Very enjoyable.