At the vanguard of the popular perception of the movement that is called Art Rock, presumably because it is slightly easier to say than 70s Retro Pop Rock, is Franz Ferdinand. They were lucky enough to break before other bands in their subgenre, Germanic-Named Retro Pop Rock, such as The Kaiser Chiefs and Maxïmo Park, and helped set the mold: The cheekiness, the deft lyrics, the expert studies in influence are in many of their songs on which allow them to walk the narrow line between Pastiche and Tribute.
The question is, how to follow it up? The answer for Franz Ferdinand is more of the same. Only, this time, on You Could Have It So Much Better, it’s even more assured (which I wasn’t sure was possible) and even more blatant in its retroism. I mean retrosity. You can tell they are having even more fun this time.
Eleanor put your boots on, for example, is pure Beatles tribute, down to the title, tune, theme and lyrical description. And Fade Forever goes down that well-trod path too, but less cleverly.
Other tracks stick more to the knowing 70s retro-rock sound, except for Outsiders which has a decidedly disco feel.
Many of the songs are very current in their retroscapancivity, only harking back a year or so to the previous Franz Ferdinand album. There are several tunes that make you go, “Ooh, whatever happened to Franz Ferdinand? Oh, yeah!” In fact some songs seem to be just new words and melodies over the same tune. But I am sure there must be a difference, otherwise they’d sue themselves and their record company would have to pay them a lot of money. Hmm.
In conclusion. If you liked the first album, then you probably had this the day it came out. If not, you won’t be disappointed unless you’re one of these people who like their bands to diversify with each album, then you might be. But if you prefer them to get cheekier, you won’t be. Of the two albums this is the more consistent which means there are no tracks that slightly annoy you, but it also means there is no Michael.
Verdict: 4 cheeky thumbs up