Franz Ferdinand are back, and they are back in style. Our favourite indie kids have grown up, but they still know how to have fun: from playing with bloody Doctor Who to their dadaist music videos, these guys have a reputation for being undeniably cool. The question is, in the midst of a hoard of dream-pop, synth-laden indie rock and electro-hybridism, are we in need of another Franz Ferdinand album?
Single and opener “Right Actions” goes someway to answer the question, and is perfectly crafted indie pop, that will lovingly stitch itself into your brain and stay there for the rest of the day. And who’d expect to hear a Bon Jovi-lite riff introducing ‘Love Illumination’? This 80s cheesiness is contrasted with the spooky swivel-eyed horror synths of the B52-esque ‘Evil Eye’ and the instrumental wink of ‘Stand on the Horizon’.
‘Fresh Strawberries’ sees the band again return to the pop-focused hooks of yesteryear, and while musically the bullseye is missed, lyrically it could quite possibly be the greatest fragaria influenced ditty since that Liverpudlian skiffle band you may have heard of.
At first listen, this apparent rediscovering of the fun Franz Ferdinand could fool you into thinking that this is an album of light hearted abandon . However, “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action” changes tack by exploring “the idea of the cynic’s search for optimism” as the lyrics colour the whole album with darker tints. ‘Brief Encounters’ explores infidelity (“Rigid in the matrimonial superking bed / pretend to sleep / pretend to sleep / pretend to sleep”) whilst the closure ‘Goodbye Lovers and Friends’ mixes sharp sarcasm ( “don’t play pop music / you know I hate pop music”) and melancholy (“Don’t fake your memories / Don’t give me virtues that I never had”).
By doing what they do better than anybody else Franz Ferdinand have refound the old magic. This is the sound of a band falling back in love with music, nourishing the seeds they dropped along the way.