Franz Ferdinand
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action


3.5
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
September 4th, 2013 | 24 replies | 9,650 views


Release Date: 08/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Back on the horse.

Although lumped in with such where-are-they-now? luminaries like Razorlight and Pete Doherty, Scottish group Franz Ferdinand never seemed to align with the rest of the NME-sponsored early-21st century British Invasion, catchy bursts of post-punk guitar and attraction to the dance floor notwithstanding. The band’s influences - underappreciated ‘80s new wavers Orange Juice, Russian Constructivism, the ambiguous sexuality of disco, etc. – never seemed to fit in with the snarling, egotistical rock ‘n roll that characterized much of their counterparts. In hindsight, “Take Me Out” was a singular event for the band, one unlikely to be repeated no matter how catchy a single like “Right Action” is here. Indeed, the band’s general awkwardness and tasteful yet subversive style hinted at a group with its brain much more interested in filling out the edges of their brittle guitar-rock with shades of dub and art rock, albeit with hearts firmly planted on the dance floor. That unimaginably ill-conceived 2005 Grammys medley with the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Gwen Stefani and Los Lonely Boys is memorable now more so for how out of place Franz Ferdinand were in the popular milieu of the mid-aughts. Yet as that wave crested and died, Franz Ferdinand just kept trucking on. In this context, 2009’s messy Tonight was the proper break from critics expecting the next “Take Me Out”; the record’s lukewarm response and the years between it and Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action have allowed Franz Ferdinand to come back on their own terms. There’s no pressure to deliver on a magazine’s promise, to keep exploring the edges of their occasionally limited sound any more than there is to even release another record. The fans will still come to the shows, the commercials will still come a-calling, and the kids will still dance to those delicious riffs and smile knowingly to Kapranos’ ambivalent lyrics.

To call Right Thoughts a return to form would be a bit of misdirection, as they never really veered off that path. Yet it is easily their most straightforward record since their debut, both in its songwriting and in its mood. The genre dalliances that Kapranos and company played around with on Tonight and got lost in on Blood are more carefully pruned and adroitly placed, mere embellishments rather than any general tone: the disquieting synths in “Treason! Animals.”; the romantic Owen Pallett strings on “Stand on the Horizon”; even the bubbly, Kinksian trifle of “Fresh Strawberries” covers up its sickly sweetness with an irresistibly authentic chorus. Occasionally Franz Ferdinand sometimes sound like they’re pulling off a half-assed cover of their better selves, as on the shamelessly derivative “Bullet,” or indulge themselves a bit too much (“Treason! Animals.” is as half-baked and directionless as its clunky pun). But Right Thoughts is strongest when the band hit that sweet interplay between retro-00s nostalgia, vicious guitar-driven riffs and Kapranos’ wry, wordy lyrics. That title track paired with the relentless groove of “Evil Eye” is the best one-two punch the group has committed to tape since “The Fallen” and “Do You Want To,” while “Love Illumination” plays up the cheese factor but ratchets up the white-boy funk proportionally. It’s tongue-in-cheek and deliciously addictive, a guilty pleasure with a bite to it: the band in microcosm.

Right Thoughts ends with Kapranos calling down the curtains on something in “Goodbye Lovers & Friends” – a relationship, ostensibly the band itself – but his lacerations (“Don’t play pop music / You know I hate pop music”) ring hollow. It’s Kapranos the actor here, the genteel frontman who knows how to play with an audience’s expectations, undercutting them with venom and anxiety as often as he draws them out with his particularly preening sort of sexuality. When Right Thoughts nails this balance is where Franz Ferdinand have always been in their element, straddling the line between emotional depth and dance floor hormones. They hit it more often than not, but there’s still a certain veneer here more difficult to crack than with previous records. The overall gist feels unmistakably like a careful dipping of their toes back in the professional waters, a feeling that only sometimes aligns with their incendiary, tight live show. It’s an album surprisingly even in its delivery, if a little underwhelming in content, somewhat reserved and unquestionably safe. Franz Ferdinand have never had a problem conveying what they mean to say – the problem that Right Thoughts only halfway solves is getting us to care all that much about it.



Recent reviews by this author
First Aid Kit Stay GoldLily Allen Sheezus
Woods With Light And With LoveEels The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Tokyo Police Club ForcefieldThe War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
user ratings (126)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
CampingInSecret (4.5)
Franz Ferdinand are back, dance shoes in hand, amps in the other. Clear the dance floor, a Scottish ...

Chloe-Marie Kikillus (4)
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action" demonstrates staying power, maturity of sentiment and sou...

Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
*Resists title-related pun.*...

Polyethylene (3.5)
Franz Ferdinand are back. Again....


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2013



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Evil Eye" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o79DGUyhC0

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2013



23798 Comments


such a great review

I hate that album title and probably won't listen to this ever. "Take Me Out" was a tune for sure, but I'm ok with being much, much less interested in this band than you are (were).

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2013



49788 Comments


3.5: The Album

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

Millstone
September 4th 2013



367 Comments


i luv horses

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2013



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Man, Bullet and Treason! Animals! are some of my favorites on here.

This is just Franz Ferdinand doing what they do best and keeping it simple. Don't know if I'd call it safe, it's just who they are and what they musically represent.

Digging: Shackleton - Deliverance Series No. 1

Chewie
September 4th 2013



4531 Comments


beautiful review.

Chewie
September 4th 2013



4531 Comments


excellent sentences.

Chewie
September 4th 2013



4531 Comments


brilliant execution.

Tyrael
September 4th 2013



20738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sooooo damn catchy

tommygun
September 4th 2013



23583 Comments


v good review there is no god there is only klap

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2013



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bless us father son holy elliott

tommygun
September 4th 2013



23583 Comments


amen brother

might jam this for old time's sake

Spare
September 6th 2013



5252 Comments


why does the cover look like a government funded billboard ad

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

sicktransitbro
September 8th 2013



55 Comments


"the band's influences... Russian Constructivism... "

explain to us, your groveling, simple students, rudy

pls

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 9th 2013



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^ The album cover of You Could Have It, is based on a poster / painting of some Russian artist. Forgot his name though.

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2013



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a lot of their art direction in general. the artist clercqie is talking about is rodchenko

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 9th 2013



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, I remember now! :]

sicktransitbro
September 12th 2013



55 Comments


thanks dudes

NightProwler
September 15th 2013



6328 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album's pretty cool, actually. Love Illumination, Treason! Animals!, and Title Track is sweet

Digging: Neil Young - American Stars 'N Bars

IbenizGEO1
September 22nd 2013



2258 Comments


i will 3.5 this one day



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy