After the mega-success of their self-titled debut, which received the NME Award for Best Album, a Mercury Prize, 2 Brits, and correspondent chart success, Franz Ferdinand slipped into the quagmire of being a ‘singles band’. The constant quality of their album, Franz Ferdinand, would not be replicated in their succeeding efforts, despite a smattering of standout tracks – check out Ulysses and Lucid Dreams to name a few. However, one would be foolish to dismiss a band that was capable of such cross-genre appeal – do many make NME and the Brits agree?
Thankfully, the lead singles Right Action and Love Illumination, have proven that the band was not planning to experiment with their winning style. Love Illumination recaptures the giddy-Vaudeville of previous singles, with an additional brass section – an inclusion that features across the album. Right Action is perhaps the weaker of the two, sounding a bit like The Kaiser Chiefs sampling The Lumineers’ Ho Hey – still it is clearly a Franz Ferdinand track, with a bouncing bass line and a stabbing guitar riff.
As previously mentioned, releasing a few catchy singles was never Franz Ferdinand’s issue, yet thankfully Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is pretty solid throughout. Evil Eye, for example, combines airy synths with a cacophony of riffs; it is ridiculous, but catchy. This is indicative of the first half of the album; it really seems as if the band is having fun – and in the process creating hugely danceable tracks that would not seem out of place at a Timepiece Friday or Cavern Saturday.
However, the lasting memory of the album is its bizarre ending; when this reviewer was enjoying the introspective beginning of The Universe Expanded, he noticed that track listing suggests the concept of alien abduction dominating the second half. I listened for anything in the musical content suggesting this, fully prepared for the blatant sounds of a UFO and lead singer Alex Kapranos screaming – rest assured, this does not happen. The only clue was the last line of lyrics on the album, “Good bye lovers and friends… but this really is the end”, which sits uncomfortably with any hopes that the band are back for good. Perhaps Franz Ferdinand are parting for a distant galaxy, with this album left behind as a leaving gift – that would be a shame. As any album in the future that improves on Right Words would be damn good.