Singles Party: Franz Ferdinand, ‘Right Action’

the singles party gets on the dancefloor again …

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This week’s Singles Party is being fueled by our TV editor Luke Kalamar, who upon hearing that Franz Ferdinand was releasing a new single, nearly leapt out of his skin with excitement and demanded that the Singles Party crew take a look at the aforementioned single, “Right Action.”

Luke Kalamar: “Right Action,” from start to finish, is everything you love about Franz Ferdinand and then some. It’s such a fun song that you can’t help but dance to. Franz Ferdinand has absolutely killed it with their past three albums and it’s crystal clear that Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is on the fast track to being one of the best releases of the year. The time between this album and their previous release Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is the longest break in the band’s history (a full three years!), but this single makes the wait worthwhile. If you don’t take time to check out “Right Action” and the other released single “Love Illumination,” you are doing your ears a disservice. I’m officially even more excited for their upcoming fourth album coming out this August. It’s really great to have these guys back. Verdict: Absolutely, 100%, Add to Playlist.

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Jason Kundrath: You know that guy at the karaoke bar who’s got plenty of swagger but sorta speak-sings every song with a perfectly passable but unremarkable sense of melody? Franz Ferdinand’s frontman Alex Kapranos has perfectly encapsulated this approach on every record the Scottish band has ever cut. That may sound like a dig, but when the band gets it right – as they did on their break out single “Take Me Out” and many other tracks off of their self-titled full-length debut – they achieve this sexy, slacker, hedonistic vibe that borderlines on transcendent. Problem is, they’ve been unsuccessfully trying to recreate that formula ever since with diminishing returns. For those who were hoping for something a little different on their first new album in almost four years, prepare to be disappointed. “Right Action” – the first single is more of the same: angular guitars, dance-floor grooves, and Alex singing the only way he knows how, desperately trying to get the party started again like it’s 2004. But The hooks are weak, the band is tired, and this dance floor is a ghost town. Verdict: One and Done.

Joe Zorzi: I think the last song I heard from Franz Ferdinand came out in 2004. I have to say, not much has changed. The band is obviously very comfortable sticking with the sound that launched them off the ground almost a decade ago. I want to love “Right Action” but I think I’m stuck. You see, the music is great. It’s fun and jumpy and made for the summer. But the vocals are a little too on the dreary end for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. I like it. But I feel like the vocals are dragging the song down a bit when it could be a full out summer banger. I’m on the edge. I’m totally on the edge. But it’s a fun enough song for me to say — Verdict: Add to Playlist.

Jason Stives: How awesome was Franz Ferdinand’s first record? Seriously circa 2004 it was the right slice of high adrenaline indie rock that you would expect to come out of Scotland and their second record presented much the same but at times just as enjoyable. Beyond the initial hype of their first two records the road for Franz Ferdinand has taken some very different directions with 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand divorcing the band of their indie alternative licks in favor of a more dance oriented record. The long gaps between that record and the soon to be released Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action has brought into question the band’s overall appeal at this point. “Love Illumination” doesn’t really set a comeback in motion as a loyal fan would hope. It zips and zings along with its fuzzy guitar logic and singer Alex Kapranos pours on the deep shaky vocals that like to curl and growl at different moments. However, it lacks the rather punctual nature of the band’s earlier work, in fact, the second track released the same day as this, “Right Action,” probably plays more in line with people’s expectations but it still falls short of sparking *ahem* this fire that the band clearly wants to light again. Perhaps this is just an early misstep and maybe their long awaited fourth release will offer something more but for now it’s a quick pinch of feet thumping indie rock but not enough to keep the ears pricked beyond initial interest. Verdict: One and Done

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Bill Bodkin: I love me some Franz Ferdinand. They just have this infectious sound that just gets your soul shaking and your toes-a-tapping. The music on “Right Action” is ‘vintage’ FF — bouncy guitar-driven awesomeness. However, it’s the ultra subdued vocals of Alex Kapranos that keep this one from being a hot off the presses favorite. You’re going to have to work with this one, give it multiple listens, let it really permeate your musical senses. And when this is done, you’re going to realize you really dig this track. Verdict: Add to Playlist.

Lauren Stern: After hearing “Right Action,” I’m not going to lie, I kind of wanted to shake all of the members of Franz Ferdinand and yell “Where the hell have you been?” I mean, the band hasn’t really been that quiet for that long (2009) but it seems that way since nothing they’ve produced has been as mainstream-worthy as “Take Me Out.” This and “Love Illumination” are GOLD though, but the kind of “GOLD” that you love for a good period of time until you hear it all over mainstream radio. Unsurprisingly enough, I’ve already heard “Right Action” a quite a number of times (thanks, Youtube) before this post, and it’s already getting to the “I’ve heard this so much that I really hope I don’t get sick of it soon” point. Regardless, it’s nice to have Franz Ferdinand back and I’ll cherish these moments until they disappear into the musicverse once again. Verdict: Add to Playlist

Final Verdict: It’s 4 votes to 2 and the yays have it. The danceability and infectiousness of “Right Action” wins.

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