Sunday, 25 August 2013
Come home, practically all is nearly forgiven
I didn't love Franz Ferdinand's first album enough for me to ever think their later two albums were any worse than the a bit over-praised debut. And that in turns makes me expect each new FF album with an easy-going optimism. And indeed, they didn't disappoint with their fourth outing either.
The band's strength is in its oddness, not in its hip-ness. No-one with a pair of working ears and some taste can say the band was "shite after the summer of 2004" (sadly I've seen this kind of nonsense floating around the internet). Despite some experimentation with production in the past (the luckily scrapped Xenomania flirtation) they somehow always managed to stay true to their sound and keep the quality of their music high. Personally my favourite album of Franz Ferdinand's is Tonight. I haven't listened to Right Thoughts... enough yet to see if it'll end up surpassing Tonight but after a few listens I'm already sure I like it. A lot.
Ace double single (Right Action/Love Illumination) aside, the album features a playful and catchy-in-a-weird-way Evil Eye, or the unexpectedly developing beauty that is The Universe Expanded. I have a soft spot for songs that zig when you expect them to zag and the awe from the first listen has yet not waned, even though the song has already firmly lodged itself in my head. Goodbye Lovers & Friends is truly a magnificent closer (this really is the end being the hopefully not too ominous last words of the regular version of the album). The only song approaching a filler, (after the first few listens at least) is probably Bullet, and the only thing that's missing a wee little bit is a truly tender acoustic moment a la Eleanor..., Katherine... or Dream Again. So much for the constructive (?) criticism.
Compared to the band's previous albums, Right Thoughts is a bit more even in tempo and mood. It presents the sound of a mature and well coordinated band that nevertheless is still very creative, playful (see also the two new videos below), and just the right kind of odd.