Singles Going Steady
If you’ve even once hit the two-minute mark of “Do You Want To” — the lead single off of You Could Have It So Much Better, album number two from Franz Ferdinand — you already know the object lesson on the band and album. That unison breakdown for the ages distills some of the most dramatic guitar chugging of the late 1970s and early 1980s (“Start” by the Jam, “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads) into pure kinetic energy. Just like the Scottish band’s first monster hit “Take Me Out,” you’re going to hear it everywhere for a very long time.Also just like “Take Me Out,” “Do You Want To” has the potential to overshadow an entire album of forward-thinking, backward-looking stompers. You Could Have It So Much Better sounds like a greatest hits package from a band with a longer history. On tracks like “Fade Together” and “Eleanor Put Your Boots On,” Franz Ferdinand get their quiet on in the somewhat creepy style of the Kinks. “Outsiders” makes you wonder how Duran Duran might have fared with more guitars and fewer synths. “This Boy” and “Evil And A Heathen,” meanwhile, merge the Fall’s edginess with the B-52s’ peppiness.
The biggest players in today’s Angular Rock Sweepstakes all have something going for them. Bloc Party have an insistent, powerful sound that snakes throughout their debut. The Killers use naive bombast, as if U2 weren’t writ large enough for them. Charming wit shines through for Hot Hot Heat. Franz Ferdinand, however, win the day by matching such surroundings at any given time, playing chameleons in exciting mod and New Wave habitats.