Album Review: Franz Ferdinand, ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’

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Ladies and gentleman, Franz Ferdinand is finally back! Back in 2010 when this album was formally announced, lead singer Alex Kapranos stated that the band felt they over-publicized their progress in the creation of 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. Their solution to this was almost complete silence with the production of their fourth album. It took over two years for the band to finally start touring again and it wasn’t even until March 2013 that new songs officially debuted. If you were fortunate enough to catch these performances, this three year gap of almost nothing wasn’t probably that bad for you. However, if you weren’t able to see the band live like myself, this wait probably felt like torture. I would often find myself checking the band’s Wikipedia page for any news but to no avail. Strangely enough, I didn’t find out about Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action until more than a month after it was officially announced! Three years of waiting and I completely missed the big announcement by a mile. Now the wait is over and the fourth studio album by these Scottish rockers is finally here. To put it simply, was the wait worth it?

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Franz Ferdinand is most recognizable for their dance/indie rock songs that really get your feet moving. These are tracks that just make listening to their music one hell of an amazing experience. Their past three albums are filled with tracks like this such as the poppy “No You Girls” from Tonight, “Do You Want To” from You Could Have It So Much Better, and their original smash it “Take Me Out” from their debut Franz Ferdinand. Rest easy because Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action in no way bucks this trend. This entire album is just one big pop-rock extravaganza. The two singles “Love Illumination” and “Right Action” certainly gave this impression but tracks like “Bullet” and “Evil Eye” prove that this is exactly what the band wants.

They have also found success with some of their lesser rocking songs too. Remember “Eleanor Put Your Boots On” or “Katherine Kiss Me”? Those songs are amazing too and really show the versatility of this group. These two tracks in particular are best known for being piano fronted, which is in stark contrast to the other songs on their respective albums. Strangely enough there are no piano fronted tracks on this new release, which actually disappoints me a little. I really enjoyed those particular songs on their past three albums as it really did feel like something different than everything else they currently have. Thankfully we have “Goodbye Lovers & Friends” and “Brief Encounters” to bring the tempo down and keep the album fresh.

If you’re looking for something different with this release, I’ve got some bad news for you. I’m not talking about making the piano a star in a song either. There’s nothing in this album that’s really new ground for the band. All ten tracks bleed “typical Franz Ferdinand” from start to finish. You’d expect that with a fourth release Franz Ferdinand would try to change things up a bit and yet that’s not the case. This is completely different compared to Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City, another hotly anticipated 2013 release that saw those indie rockers take an entirely different approach to refresh their sound. It was jarring at first but makes absolute sense when you think about it. I believe that all artists should at least try something new with each release. It’s great that Franz Ferdinand has found a sound that keeps people listening and long time fans will find plenty of reasons to keep this music pumping, but I’ve already seen people express their disappointment with the lack of change. It’s hard not to agree with them to some extent.

2013 is currently my favorite year of music in recent memory. It’s as if every artist I’ve been hoping for a new album from has decided to make this their year to return. New Phoenix, Daft Punk, Vampire Weekend, and even David Bowie were enough to make me squeal with glee. Then out of nowhere a new Franz Ferdinand is announced and I absolutely lost it. Franz Ferdinand was one of the first indie rock bands I completely fell in love with and I have been a devoted fan since 2004.

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is without a doubt an amazing release. It’s filled with the pop rock swings and ferocious guitar riffs that have made this Scottish group so damn popular. It is, however, not much of a diversion from what they’ve done in the past, keeping the band in their own comfort zone. The album is still enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but it would’ve been much better to hear them experiment a little. I can honestly see this lack of experimentation being a problem in the future as it follows the simple rule of, “If it’s just like what I already own, why shell out the extra money?” That’s not a problem now as the band still has that freedom to change, but hopefully that change will come before it’s too late.

Rating: 8/10

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