Franz Ferdinand Back With Fast Follow-Up

A fter a breakout year in 2004, Franz Ferdinand is not resting on its success. Just 18 months after the Glasgow, Scotland, four-piece helped lead an alt-rock revival at radio, the band is looking to s

After a breakout year in 2004, Franz Ferdinand is not resting on its success.

Just 18 months after the Glasgow, Scotland, four-piece of frontman/guitarist Alex Kapranos, guitarist Nick McCarthy, bassist Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thomson helped lead an alt-rock revival at radio with the ubiquitous hit "Take Me Out," the band is looking to strike again with a much-anticipated follow-up album.

The new Domino/Epic set, "You Could Have It So Much Better," released Oct. 3 internationally and the following day in North America. The first single, "Do You Want To," was released Sept. 19 and has already reached No. 14 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.

This time out the band is pushing its sound at both ends of the spectrum. The new album, which the group co-produced with Rich Costey, fleshes out a stronger, more full-bodied production on the uptempo rockers ("The Fallen" and "Evil and a Heathen") while also revealing a new introspective side steeped in Beatles-esque melodies ("Eleanor Put Your Boots On").

We definitely tried to capture the excitement of our live show," McCarthy says. "The last album seems like it was a thin, cold line. There's more life to the new album."

That is not to say the band is abandoning its rhythmic roots and angular guitar lines. "We're very much a rhythm-driven band," Kapranos told recently. "We still want to make people dance, but we didn't want to repeat the same beats."

Toward that end, the first single is arguably the most recognizable Franz Ferdinand track on the album and has drawn comparisons to "Take Me Out." That tune, which reached No. 3 on the Modern Rock chart, powered massive worldwide sales for the band the last time out.

Franz Ferdinand's 2004 self-titled debut reached No. 32 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 968,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Worldwide, the album has sold more than 3 million units.

The new disc was released on CD and DualDisc, with the latter containing exclusive interviews, the video for "Do You Want To" and a making-the-video diary. A limited-edition three-song bonus disc will be sold at select independent retailers.

Franz Ferdinand played a string of European and U.K. dates in late July. A five-week U.S. tour kicked off Sept. 19 in Chicago. Along the way the band will visit "Austin City Limits" and "Saturday Night Live," as well as a number of other national TV shows. The act will return to the United States for a second leg in February and March. A third short touring stint at the end of spring is also possible.

Excerpted from the Oct. 8, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to subscribers.

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