Album Review: Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

By on Thursday, 8th August 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action coverFranz Ferdinand headlined Reading and Leeds in 2006. Cast your mind back to that for a minute: a band at the height of their powers, with an album that has sold over 3 million copies, they’d won the Phillip Hall Radar Award in 2004, two BRIT Awards in 2005 for Best British Group and Best British Rock Act and had been compared to The Who and The Rolling Stones in the pages of the New Musical Express. High praise no matter what scale of cynicism you’re working on, this was a band with pomp, pride and a spring to their step.

Roll forward 7 years and as politely as I can express this, I’d forgotten that Franz Ferdinand were anything more than that poor bloke who gets the blame for the cause of World War I. Whether that is my inherent sense of forgetfulness or a reflection on the bands somewhat fall from grace, is yours for the mulling. But GCSE/O-Level history lessons aside, the Glasgow indie-rockers are back with a new record, ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’. Since their self-titled debut, it seemed their journey was taking the shape of a baby oil-drenched slippery slope, with Alex Kapranos leading the slide, shirt off and splashing for dear life.

With ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ they may have hit a slight incline. Nothing dramatic, but enough to at least to grab the attention of potential naysayers and remind them that these Glaswegians are some of the best lyricists and creators of funkery that have graced these bonny shores in a while.This record swings like the ‘60s and ebbs and flows with some funky freshness that I haven’t seen from Franz in a while. The choruses that Franz have become known for are lurking in the deeps too.

The album also sees the band delve into altogether murkier territory, in subject matter at least. I’m not talking White Lies’ epic levels of doom mongering, as these boys aren’t capable of that (so I think), though Kapranos does get a bit touchy in final song ‘Goodbye Lovers and Friends’, as he spits out “Don’t fake your memories / Don’t give me virtues that I never had”, to leave us on a rather unpleasant note. It seems an overawing sense of sullenness is the underlying theme of this album, with the image of Kapranos being batted about, bullied and maligned for being that archetypal skinny indie boy coming to mind. But intrinsically, that is what Kapranos is. The conventional indie kid.

I suppose this could be looked at as a quintessentially indie album, with flecks of disappointment and glumness interspersing the album and track ‘Treason! Animals’ chugging along like a gospel funeral parade, a la ‘Live and Let Die’, with more synth. But with less murder and stuff. But that would be an overtly simplistic view, it’s certainly not about disaster, but those typical themes of loss, monogamy and lust are explored in trademark indie fashion. “Rigid in the matrimonial superking bed / pretend to sleep / pretend to sleep / pretend to sleep” paints a hauntingly poignant image of infidelity during ‘Brief Encounters’. Combining that with the erstwhile suspicion and honkytonkery of ‘Evil Eye’, and it’s an album that is showing enough signs of bi-polar and suspicion to have even the most psychiatric professionals scratching their heads.

Lyrical gushing aside, musically it suffers from a lot of the flaws Franz Ferdinand suffered during ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand’: a certain predictability that detracts from what challenges to be a rather exciting deeply charged record. Instead, it sounds flat at times, with track ‘Fresh Strawberries’ being a mid-point in mediocrity that has my interest waning severely by the end.

It seems whilst they have climbed the highest highs (they’ve played with bloody Doctor Who, which no matter anyone’s reckoning is undeniably cool) they seem to have hit an iceberg, perhaps not of Titanic-like proportions, but instead enough to cause a serious graze in the hull of the good ship Ferdinand. Keep ploughing ahead boys, surely a late 2018 resurgence is on the cards. I’m thinking Other Stage at Glastonbury? See ya there, boys.

7/10

‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’, the new album from Franz Ferdinand, will be released on the 26th of August via Domino Records.

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6 Responses

12:02 pm
8th August 2013

New post: Album Review: Franz Ferdinand @Franz_Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action: http://t.co/HpmcMKr3RV

12:02 pm
8th August 2013

RT @tgtf: New post: Album Review: Franz Ferdinand @Franz_Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action: http://t.co/HpmcMKr3RV

[…] John’s review of the Scots’ latest album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ can be read here. […]

[…] Domino Records album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ (reviewed by John here) embedded below the tour dates. A bit gruesome but funny […]

[…] it. (Complete with fake insects attached to it, I might add.) And you know how the new LP is called ‘Right Words, Right Thoughts, Right Action”? Three axes on stage = three amps marked with either “WORDS”, “THOUGHTS” or […]

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