fri 21/06/2024

CD: Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

CD: Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

Droll Scots return to tried and tested formula on fourth album

A frenzy of Franz

When the best thing you can say about a band’s comeback album is that it sounds vaguely like their era-defining punk funk debut, you can either wonder why they bothered or admire their dogged devotion to a single sound. The music world has moved on from the dance rock sound popularised by the Glasgow foursome’s foot-stomping first single "Take Me Out" (a title now more synonymous with TV dating hell), but Franz Ferdinand have not moved with it.

A decade of success has seen flashes of experimentation but after a failed attempt at producing a more dancefloor-friendly album (2009’s Tonight), they have reverted to their tried and tested formula of angular guitars, droll lyrics and disco-ish synths. The result is a polished 10-tracker with fan-pleasing potential. But, it’s hard to tell if this, their fourth studio offering, is a triumphant return or a bittersweet swansong.

Perhaps we should just be grateful they’ve managed to make a record at all. The band’s traditionally cocksure front man, Alex Kapranos, recently admitted they had come close to splitting up. Creative frustrations, personal issues and industry cynicism all added to the strain. Kapranos told the Observer: “I met up with Bob [Hardy, bass] in Orkney about two years ago. I wanted to split the band up, because in my head it felt like one of those jobs, the ones I had to jack in. I didn’t like the routine and the obligations.”

Kapranos was talked down from the musical cliff edge and the band regrouped with recording sessions in London, Scotland and Sweden. The album has no one producer, rather an array of intriguing collaborations with the likes of Hot Chip and Norwegian beatmaster Todd Terje. The standout tracks include the bright, bouncy opener, "Right Action" - an energising slice of indie pop made by masters of the craft. Quirkiness levels are ramped up on "Evil Eye" – a tight, funk-infused number laden with plinky plonky synths and bizarre lyrics. Next comes "Love Illumination" which boasts an oboe solo, fuzzy guitars and lusty harmonies. Polishing things off is the acerbic lament "Goodbye Lovers" and "Friends" with its tribal tinges and sneering lyrics. Kapranos might claim that “I don't play pop music/You know I hate pop music", but it’s clear from this fast-paced, pop-filled album that the opposite is, once again, true.

Cocksure front man, Alex Kapranos, recently admitted they had come close to splitting up


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Anybody who says something like 'the music world has moved on' isn't worthy of reviewing music. 'Kapranos was talked down from the musical cliff edge' that wasn't even the case. Shoddy reporting. Serena Kutchinsky - fire yourself.

Very well-written review. Enjoyed reading it immensely.

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