Franz Ferdinand’s comeback is ‘pleasantly refreshing’
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:08
Apparently as a child I missed out on the boy-band hype that pervaded my generation. I had no idea what the Backstreet Boys sang or who was in N*SYNC, and to this day I’m not confident about which band Aaron Carter belongs to. I was raised on rock ‘n’ roll, Motown and classical music, which made pop boy bands hard for me to stomach because I needed something more substantial than a bubblegum lyric and a head of highlighted hair. I loved certain CDs, “Queen’s Greatest Hits,” “Abbey Road,” “The Very Best of Elvis Costello” and the soundtrack to “Grease” but I never fell in love with a band like many of my friends did with 90s boy-bands.
When I was in eighth grade, I stumbled across a CD in my local library and the minimalist artwork caught my eye. Little did I know I had found my boy band and they were none other than the Glasgow-based Franz Ferdinand. Everything about the band drew me: from the artsy, literary lyrics to the masterful guitar leads and the band’s tough chic leather jackets. I had officially found my obsession-worthy band.
I spent hours listening to their first album, reveling in the edgy rock vibe, and graduated to their second album, “You Could Have It So Much Better” in no time. The first two albums perfectly straddled the line between post-punk and modern alternative, evoking a vintage punk sound with an explosively hyperactive foundation. The third album was released in 2009 and as a huge fan of the first two albums I was disappointed. The band chose a more electronic path and toned down the forceful emotion of the first two albums, opting instead for a subdued and dark aesthetic.
When the band released the news that 2013 would be the year of a new album, I was excited out of nostalgia, but in reality I was unenthusiastic. But, “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action”is a pleasantly refreshing comeback for the band. The two singles from the album “Right Action” and “Love Illumination” dropped over the summer and to my surprise I actually found myself listening to them over and over again. “Love Illumination” has all of the energy of the first two albums with creative lyrics and dynamic harmonies. The second single, “Right Action,” is edgy and fierce, and a clear continuation from the second album. It’s the perfect progression from the juvenile hyperactivity to a mature, but explosive sound.
Stand out tracks are “Stand on the Horizon” which has a catchy guitar theme and Alex Kapranos’ vocals are delightfully fun and happy. “Fresh Strawberries” is an almost Lennon/McCartney-esque tune with harmonized vocals from all the members and a 60s feel to the melody. Whereas “Fresh Strawberries” sounds like Beatlemania, “Treson! Animal” could be “Tears for Fears” in parts and maintains a distinctly 80s vibe with the usage of the pedal organ. The other tracks on the album are fairly unremarkable, but still interesting and worthy. The original Franz Ferdinand sounds of explosive vocals and driving music is a bit lost on the album as a whole, but this gives it a variety of emotions and sounds that easily engages and entertains the listener.
The most impressive part of the album is the number of tracks. With ten original tracks the album would be considered short, but the band includes live versions of all the tracks and even includes live versions of songs from the second and third albums, such as “Do You Want To” and “Ulysses.” The amount of old and new content makes the album worth the purchase for any fan.