Album Review: Franz Ferdinand “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions” (2013)

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions is the newly released album by Scottish indie-rock band Franz Ferdinand. It is their fourth studio release overall and first since 2009, a long gap between offerings when you consider that most indie bands release an album every two years at the very least. I must say that since their second album You Could Have It So Much Better, Franz Ferdinand drifted off my musical radar and were seemingly ready to be forever known to me as the band who released that really artsy video in 2004 accompanying arguably their most well-known song “Take Me Out”. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised after listening to their latest release, in what appears to be a very strong comeback for the band.

The sound of this album is not too dissimilar to their last album which had an underlying dance feel to it, although all in all the band tends to mix up the material between traditional indie-rock and doses of 80s new wave. Album opener the guitar-driven “Right Thoughts” is probably the track which resembles their earlier work the most and is notably accompanied by a “Take Me Out” inspired music video, while “Evil Eye” has a sort of 80s post-punk feel to it including a thumping Duran Duran bass line. There are shades of Bowie on “Love Illumination” which channels his 80s work along with latest release The Next Day and includes driving guitars, a catchy melody and even drowning-like horns. There is no doubting that “Love Illumination” will be a live favorite among fans, whilst it is also for me a candidate for best track on the album. Other tracks that stood out for me on the album included the Supergrass-sounding “Bullet” with its high pitch vocals and surfer guitar, and the Beatlesque “Fresh Strawberries” with its lovely harmonies and glowing melody. “Fresh Strawberries” appealed to me as it is not your typical Franz Ferdinand track in that it is a slower more mellow number and is less guitar-driven.  Another candidate for best song on the album and nice to see them try something different. The only real negatives for me on this album were the tracks “Treason Animals” and “The Universe Expanded” of which both seemed to me as being annoying exercises in psychedelic synth pop. For me, these were clearly the weakest tracks on the album and definitely don’t fit in with the up-tempo and melodic nature of the rest of the material. However, at ten songs it is a very short album and therefore a couple of lesser tracks can be excused. Yes, they don’t add anything to the album, but at the same time, they don’t take anything away from the rest of the material.

So far this album has been well received by critics with many giving it four stars and 8/10 ratings. I definitely concur with the critics and view the album as a strong comeback for the group especially after their last album was a bit uneven in places. I also probably view this release more favorably as I wasn’t expecting much out of it and was tossing up whether to even bother listening to it. In the end, I’m glad I did and the surprise in the form of some quality songs was well worth it. I do recommend this latest offering from Franz Ferdinand especially if you enjoyed their earlier work, or are simply just an indie-rock nerd. I would also recommend it to those people like myself of which Franz Ferdinand had drifted out of consciousness within the overcrowded scene of indie bands that exist these days. You also might just be pleasantly surprised like I was.
– Sam

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