With a jaunty clap and a bumping beat, Franz Ferdinand are suddenly back in business. That’s how the band commence their fourth LP, with the “doo doos” of opening track “Right Action” picking up right where the year 2004 left off. Obviously, the world is a far different place than it was back then, but have a listen to Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, and you’d swear you were fifteen years old again. That’s where the real appeal of this latest Franz Ferdinand record lies; if you’ve been jonesing for a brand new fix of the retro-tinged, danceable post-punk you were raised on, why not just look to the original source?
Nearly a decade ago, Franz Ferdinand didn’t just help millennials brush up on their 20th Century European history, but also got them moving and grooving like no other buzz band could. But while they’ve never lost their charm, or their ability to craft a perfect pop hook, it’s been years since the band made major waves (2009’s Tonight was their last, mildly disappointing, effort). That’s why the release of new single “Right Action,” out of seemingly nowhere, came as such as surprise. And while it lacks the immediate, vortex-like power of say, “Take Me Out,” the track is most definitely a grower, which applies to pretty much all of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
The first half of Franz Ferdinand’s concise, latest collection is fun, free, and highly reminiscent of the band’s early work. Perhaps embracing just a bit more of a dance-oriented sound (think You Could Have It So Much Better closing track and live favorite “Outsiders”), songs like the criminally smooth “Evil Eye” and the shimmering disco polish of “Stand on the Horizon” are the album’s best offerings. Here, Bob Hardy’s thumping bass triumphs, and the slick, clever allure of frontman Alex Kapranos returns in fine form.
Side B evokes far different feelings, but while it fails in terms of dance floor promise, its subtle risks and experiments serve to remind that Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is Franz Ferdinand’s fourth full-length effort; the band aren’t simply recycling old formulas which have worked in the past. “Fresh Strawberries” verges on psychedelic territory, also echoing shades of sweet garage rock nostalgia. “Bullet” speeds things up once again, if only to display the band’s precise guitar skills and quick percussion at their finest. The album’s final tracks are certainly refined, if not instantly memorable.
In the end, Franz Ferdinand should be quite proud; after all, they’re survivors. In a sea of long-forgotten British indie rockers– The Rakes, anyone?– they’ve managed to stay afloat. Not even a lengthy hiatus could tear this bouncing band of lads asunder. Is Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action as groundbreaking as Franz Ferdinand was nearly ten years ago? Not a chance. But hopefully next time around, their return won’t come as such a surprise.
Franz Ferdinand – “Love Illumination”
Franz Ferdinand – “Fresh Strawberries”
Love & Destroy
Franz Ferdinand – “Love & Destroy”