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Franz Ferdinand – [Album]

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Friday, 30 August 2013

It may have taken ten years for the band to really loosen up and allow itself to really feel the rhythm and possibilities in its music, but Franz Ferdinand has emerged as a new and finer outfit on Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action – their fourth studio album. The difference between this and every other album in the band's catalogue is apparent right away as “Right Action” swaggers out and opens the record; while they were never strangers to the idea of commanding attention, Franz Ferdinand always had trouble sealing the deal with those listeners who really needed to be won because they always seemed too nervous and obsessed with watching their own feet to make sure they were making the right steps. That was the band's greatest problem previously, but it's not the case now; right from the top, there's a carefree swing in the band's collective step, and listeners will be put at ease by it right away. While singer/guitarist Alex Kapranos' voice as always sounded as thick and runny as Velveeta, there is a richness in it here too (like Velveeta cut with whipping cream maybe?) which is immediately satisfying and infections, and easily wins the prize for the single best song Franz Ferdinand has ever written when bassist Bob Hardy, guitarist Nick McCarthy and drummer Paul Thomson enter in and further sweeten the deal. Even longtime fans of Franz Ferdinand will have to admit that, while they may not have assumed that anything was missing from the band's sound before, all the pieces line up perfectly here.

With the album off to a tremendous start, listeners will find more thrills as the band keeps the loose, good times rolling through songs like “Evil Eye,” “Fresh Strawberries” (the line “We have been forgotten, we will soon be rotten” is a little cloying, but forgivable), “Bullet” and “The Universe Expanded” (which sounds like a Shadowy Men From A Shadowy Planet song – with vocals!), and leave listeners awestruck by the power and the quality of the impression they leave. Of course, this run-time does have a few weak moments (“Love Illumination,” “Stand On The Horizon” and “Treason! Animals” all see Franz Ferdinand backpedal into stiffer, more gaunt sonic styling), but those end up just feeling like the connective tissue between the band's past and their present which need to be there in order to complete the image that the band is transitioning; those songs show that the band is moving forward beyond their angular past, even if they're not quite out of it yet.

By the time “Goodbye Lovers & Friends” (which is one of the soberest tracks on the album) makes its way through with some back-looking beats and synths, listeners won; find themselves happily waving goodbye to the Franz Ferdinand of old, and looking brightly towards what new sounds might be on the horizon for the group. Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action definitely leaves a few options open; it'll be interesting to see what the band chooses to do on its next album.

Artist:

www.franzferdinand.com/
www.myspace.com/franzferdinand
www.facebook.com/officialfranzferdinand
www.twitter.com/Franz_Ferdinand

Album:

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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Franz Ferdinand – [Album]

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Thursday, 02 July 2009

Maybe I'm just simple, but it never occurred to me that Franz Ferdinand might have even one reggae-infused bone in its bandmembers' collective body. No really—did anyone know? The band has always (at least in my mind) been perceived as a slightly new wave-ish Top 40 rock outfit but, in listening to Blood:, a dub rendering of the songs on the band's smash hit Tonight: (released earlier this year), a series of new possibilities present themselves. In retrospect, were those stone-stiff riffs and rhythms that appeared in radio singles Franz Ferdinand has released since “Take Me Out” simply a ham-fisted, Anglicized fashionable re-imagining of reggae? Blood: certainly adds credence to that possibility and, as a result, renders a re-judgment of the band's powers as necessary.

The uniformly stiff and bow-legged chops with which Franz Ferdinand first introduced itself five years ago on their self-titled debut and have continued to thread through every subsequent release including Tonight: are all-but-totally absent from Blood: and, from the booming clap of “Feel The Pressure” forward, listeners are presented with a genuinely slithering set of grooves that mark the first time the band has been ready for dance floors in the conventional sense (big beats, undulating rhythms) rather than that which turned fashionably conscious heads originally.

With all this talk of 'dub' and the reggae connotations that come with it, that doesn't mean that the band spontaneously supplanted the original music from these ten songs with fuzzy, warm and organic reggae, they've simply adopted dub principles for this presentation. Here, singer Alex Kapranos' vocal parts have been sliced and diced for a dessert-only product and punctuate the far more electro-enriched songs rather than driving them. It sounds priggish to say it, but that far-less-like-Franz-Ferdinand approach is a boon to the material as, with Kapranos' normally stunted vocal delivery out of the way and the band's usual sensibilities removed, the songs achieve a far more mercurial flow than they had before, and so actually deliver on the band's previous desire to synthesize rock sensibilities and danceable beats better. Existing fans might balk at the fact that most of the hooks from songs like “Hit Me” (re-christened as “Katherine Hit Me”) have been removed, but songs like “Backwards On My Face,” “Die On The Floor” and “Feel The Pressure” all promise to find an all-new audience that favors ambiance over flair and wants to get sweaty on the floor rather than look cool standing next to it.

That said, it's unlikely that anyone other than the super-fans in their base will be taken in and approve of Blood:, but it's unlikely that the band released this album for existing fans. The uninitiated (and those, like me, that didn't think much of the radio-ready incarnation of Franz Ferdinand) are the ones that will find the most value in Blood: because they'll be drawn in by the hypnotic and remarkably solid designs of the songs as well as the emphasis placed on the music rather than the artifice in the lyrics.

Artist:

Franz Ferdinand online

Franz Ferdinand myspace

Album:

Blood: is out now and available here on Amazon.

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