Sound — 8
Franz Ferdinand was formed in or around 2002 and has maintained their original lineup to date. Their debut self-titled album released in 2004, having already received a lot of buzz for their lead single "Take Me Out." The band started work on their second album very shortly after this, releasing "You Could Have It So Much Better" just one year later in 2005. By the point their second album released they were considered one of the hottest "indie" bands active at the time. Their third album, "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand," wasn't released until 4 years later in 2009. At this point, while some of the hype for the band had died down, they still retained a strong fan base internationally. Well, it is 4 years later and we have a new album once again, this time titled "Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action."
The album has 10 tracks and clocks in at around 35 minutes, and is being released by Domino Records. The album as a whole has a lot of "bounce" to it, and for the most part remains high energy. The album opens up with the track "Right Action," which is carried by a catchy guitar riff and good vocal hook. The next track up is "Evil Eye" which has an almost Queen vibe to it, maybe with a touch of "Thriller" mixed in. "Love Illumination" was probably my least favorite track on my first listen to the album, but it grew on me pretty quick and has a fuzzed out blues vibe to it with interesting stuff going on with the guitar and keyboard. The track "Fresh Strawberries" makes a lot of use out of vocal harmony and reminds me of old school pop music like from around the '60s and '70s. The track "Treason! Animals." is very high energy and in a lot of ways reminds me of some of the more upbeat '80s music. "Brief Encounters" starts out with some interesting keyboard that almost has a theremin vibe to it in the intro, but builds to an interesting groove with a guiro and an infectious guitar melody. The album closes out with "Goodbye Lovers & Friends," which was absolutely my favorite track on the album. It definitely has the most going on from a compositional standpoint, even using some background chanting.
Lyrics — 8
Alex Kapranos has always reminded me of a lot of the '80s new wave vocalists, and that is especially true on this release. This isn't a problem for me, because new wave music happens to be my guilty pleasure genre, and maybe that is the only reason I make that connection in my head. Nick and Paul both provide backing vocals and they do a solid job. Honestly, I can't think of anything negative to say about the vocals they do an excellent job fitting with the music. As an example of the lyrics, here are some from the track "Love Illumination": "When you're happy from a dream/ Is it hard to work out what is real/ Is the real over there/ More vivid than here ever feels/ We could love, we could love you/ If you need somebody to love you/ While you're looking for somebody to love/ Sweet love illumination/ Sweet, sweet love elevation/ Outside, fresh other side/ But inside love, you will be alright/ Sweet love illumination/ Sweet, sweet love celebration/ Got covered, reason term/ But it'll bring you up/ You will be alright/ It's a black pool, bright light/ Brighter than the light in your home/ Well, you want to be loved/ But nobody else seems to know/ We could love, we could love you/ If you need somebody to love you/ While you're looking for somebody to love."
Overall Impression — 8
In my mind I think of Franz Ferdinand as an "art school" band, though I'm actually not sure if the members went to art school or not. The reason for this is their musical composition, lyrics, music videos and album artwork all have a quality to them that I connect with that scene. Other bands that fall into that category to me are Death Grips, The Who and Blur. All of these bands seem to write music that is both unusual but seems to grow on you very quickly. The same can absolutely be said for this album. My favorite track on the album is definitely "Goodbye Lovers & Friends," with my next favorites being the first two on the album, "Right Action" and "Evil Eye." There were no songs I disliked on the album, and I seem to like it better with each listen. The album as a whole manages to be upbeat without being overwhelmingly upbeat, and honestly seems like it will appeal to casual listeners as much as to established Franz Ferdinand fans. While there aren't any standout tracks as strong as their first two albums, the songs as a whole are stronger.