Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

Originally Released 26th August 2013. Review originally published 30th September 2013.

The problems which dogged the recording of Franz’ last album, 2009’s “Tonight…”, were according to recent interviews with Alex Kapranos nothing it seems compared to the turbulent backdrop from which Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action eventually sprung. Then it was a break up with hit making factory Xenomania, whilst now were it not for a meeting between him and bass player Bob Hardy in 2011, this record may not have existed at all, ditto the band.

Thankfully – for the time being at least – the fractious foursome are again full of the joys of spring, the ship steadied by a set of new songs which aren’t mould breaking from anyone’s perspective but play to their strengths and prodigious art rock heritage. Opener Right Action finds them slipping confidently into gear, cheeky hand claps and half-baked, nudist funk guitars sounding so quintessentially student disco, if those things still actually exist.

It’s a bold first step in so much as we knew they’d still got it but maybe they didn’t, and for a band who are only ever-changing things by degree, there are nuances to spot like pretty girls in paisley and pencil skirts. Dig the early B-52’s weirdness of Evil Eye (If you listen hard enough) whilst the thudding garage of Bullet sounds like the Kaiser Chiefs on beau-coup single malt rather than their usual Vimto. Playing the oddball and bouncing around like a stylish but friendly Alsatian are both roles Kapranos seemed pre-destined to fulfil, however by far the most affecting moment here though is the knee trembling suburban noire of Brief Encounters, car keys being lost as well as moral compasses with the band sounding resplendent in full Pulp regalia.

Never a group long on surfacing their inter personal dynamics – other than obliquely – the troubles that fame has bestowed upon these less than willing converts are as clearly expressed as at any point in the last decade on the finale, Goodbye Lovers and Friends. Possibly the ground work being laid for a permanent solution to their ills, Kapranos croons to everyone and no-one in particular: “So goodbye lovers and friends/So sad to leave you/ When they lie and say this is not the end/You can laugh and pretend we’re still together”. As with much of Franz Ferdinand’s oeuvre it’s all very tongue in cheek and open to numerous interpretations, but the smart money would be on a Greatest Hits album before much longer. After that, it’s down to what the bounds of taste and decency will allow.

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