Friday, 28 June 2013

Track Review: Franz Ferdinand - Right Action/Love Illumination

There haven't been many survivalists of the dreaded indie rock decline of 2007-08 I can come back to time after time with a sense of glee and accompanied satisfaction in what I've come to love, than Franz Ferdinand. The Scottish four-piece made headline news and headline slots on the musical scene with the release of 2004's self-titled debut; a rather unorthodox, feet-tapping, crowd-repeating, body-pumping cast-iron collection of alternate anthems for the new millennium of British bands redefining the age of rock which, for a time, had seen the surge of electronic almost kick the genre into a foreign second gear of relevance. With the release of 2005's You Could Have It So Much Better and 2009's Tonight...[Franz Ferdinand], the highland four-piece have taken quite an off-focus passage into the neo-10's decade - choosing instead to work preciously and closely into making their forth outing as competitive a record as former mid-noughties band can hope to avail with in an age seemingly ever more dominated by the synthesizer and the umpteen amounts of effects and sneaky post-production tactics. The result, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, sounds as much a boosting of confidence as much the album cover carries on the recognizable nod to modernist graphic design and past visual endeavors. The first release, a 7" double A-side in the form of Right Action & Love Illumination, seems hoping to reinvigorate that gestural swagger the Scots have enjoyed so gallantly thriving off.

Right Action, which sees the band proclaim the album title in a string of mid-range crooned vocals and elevated marches of rhythm, makes no hesitation to bring back the flavoursome groove of their past records straight into this the next decade of the third millennium. As if dusting off the cobwebs and fine-tuning to the best of their abilities, the song quickly glides down into recognizable foot-pounding, hip-swaying guitar leads and bass rummages. Lead vocalist Alex Kapranos, despite the increase of four years in both age and voice, is as centrifuged and focused as he's ever been - a bit more of a maturity coming through in his voice, even in the titular marching of 'right thoughts, right words, right action'. But the band still know how to epitomize the collective ferocity of British crowd chanting - fuzzy brass the backing to an onomatopoeia-esque carriage of amplified crowd surfs and festival on-goers. Illumination Ritual, by comparison, gets things going straight off the bat. Guitars unveil a more loaded surge of energy. Bass guitar gives off a very rhythmic and groove-orientated directness about its delivery - pounding through the middle of the listener's ears like a throbbing knife through snared butter. Vocals this time tend to position themselves more in the middle of production, and the support from the backing gel fairly deeply into Kapranos' mutterings - at times, coming off a little muffled and noisy. But it's not long before the lavish lead of guitars and quirky grin-widening offering of keyboards come into play fortunately, and the track returns to that groovy, attitudinal piece of previous to leave its listener ending proceedings with a smile.


So from the looks of things, even after nearly a decade of seeing their self-titled debut remain one of critics' favourites of the recent surge of alternative and post-punk revival records, Franz Ferdinand it seems still have it in them to craft some fine-sounding, street-marching, stadium-swaying anthems for both the jolly masses and lone music fans alike. If there's one thing that still remains a mystery, is whether or not we'll get anymore of the opposing measure of slowly-creeping-up, synthesizer madness that we were treeted so brilliantly with on their previous album. But if the pompous guitar, percussion and accompanying instrumental offerings are anything to go by, the Scottish four-piece certainly aren't willing to let character sacrifice itself for mass appeal, and if I had to choose, I'd definitely let the charisma - that has done them justice already - keep to its course over anything else. Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is out 26th August via Domino Records.