Deceptively good. It's a bit like the first album in the sense that there are a couple of immediately accessible tracks, and then a few more that are great after a couple of listenings, and then a few I'm not quite into yet but sense that I will be.
Random thoughts: This Boy seems to have improved since I heard it live; I think it's because the bassline is more to the fore. And I'm Your Villain, as I expected, works very well recorded, with some slick production behind it; it's much more crisp than it is live.
Mostly it's that same quirky "OK, here's the intro..no wait! That was just theme A, we've got theme B here...ha ha caught you out, didn't we...now for a danceable tune, and then theme C, chased by D and E etc., but somehow it's working, isn't it?" Franz signature style. Do You Want To?'s there, of course. The rather fun Evil and a Heathen reminds me somewhat of their Love and Destroy, and Outsiders (drummer Paul Thomson's favourite, apparently) ends the album with a pleasantly languid dance vibe, and the morose observation that tempus fugit, and "the only difference is what might be is now what might have been".
A few more favourite snatches of lyrics here:
I am completely invincible.
If I have one set principle,
then it's to stand on you, brother.
If I like cocaine, I'm raising you
for organic fresh echinacea:
One kick's as good as another. (This Boy)
I like how you pretend
that the end will be the end
so fill your thirst
and drink a curse
to the death of death instead...
...your teeth are black with wine
as you place those lips on mine (Evil and a Heathen)
If we were feckless we'd be fine,
sucking hard upon our innocence.
But we've been bright in our decline,
been left as blackened filament. (What You Meant)
The last message you sent said I looked really down,
that I oughtta come over and talk about it.
Well I wasn't down:
I just wasn't smiling at *you* (You Could Have It So Much Better)
What's wrong with a little destruction? (The Fallen)
So I shall be acquainting myself with this album more and more over the next few days. Happy sighs all round. :o)