Franz Ferdinand You Could Have it So Much Better (Domino) Their first album from last year sold shed-loads all over the world and -started the new art rock movement that swept away the stale old garage sound of New York. But was it so great? Sounding like a cross between early Simple Minds and Gang of Four, it was plucky and catchy, but sounded like a high school rock band in rehearsal. This follow-up, though, lives up to the previous CD's hype. Imaginative, spiky and melodic it's the sound of a band hitting its stride, leaping to maturity and cementing its position as the most exciting new group around. There's nary a duff track here. Each one is a potential single and a couple are even contenders for song of the year. The superlative first single Do You Wanna is just a teaser, a jaunty red herring thrown in to link the dots between the stutter-punk Franz of last year and the pumped up, cruise-rocking Franz of this year. Two tracks in, Alex Kapranos & Co set their stall with Eleanor, Put Your Boots On, an acoustic-led slice of psychedelic balladry reminiscent of The Kinks that's texturally miles from Take Me Out. Ignore the lyrics, though, they're daft; just luxuriate in the swirling sounds. The Fallen is one of the highlights, with a driving, guitar riff intro that doesn't relent, and Walk Away could have sat happily on The Pixies' Bossa Nova. It's great when a band finally live up to their promise, instead of burning out after one mediocre album and a punishing tour. Someone should let The Strokes know they're no longer wanted.