“How can I tell you I was wrong?/When I am/The Cruelest Man/Ever Born.”
For their first album in four years, Franz Ferdinand has returned in anything but the wrong way: Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is packed with lively, upbeat tracks that contrast stunningly with somber lyrics.
Formed in Glasgow in 2002, the Scottish indie band—consisting of lead singer and guitarist Alex Kapranos, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Nick McCarthy, bassist Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thompson—took quite a break after the release of three chart-topping albums in the past decade.
In the surrealistic meltdown “The Universe Expanded,” confidence and enduring love is depicted in the chorus, “But I don’t mind losing you this time/I’ll meet you coming back/When the universe has expanded.” This is the melancholia that is the essence of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action: in an interview with MOJO, Kapranos stated that “the idea of the cynic’s search for optimism and the skeptic’s search for a manual crop up here and there.”
Many of the tracks on here, particularly “Love Illumination” feature McCarthy’s keyboarding that sounds so sanguine and funky you want to dance and drink the “disco lemonade” from Marcy Playground’s 1997 hit “Sex and Candy.”
As if the energizing guitar riff accompanied by Thompson’s drumming on “Bullet” wasn’t electrifying enough, the lyrics, “Never kissed a bullet out of my hand now/baby” will certainly do the trick.
Jonas Odell, the director of the video for their 2004 hit “Take Me Out” (arguably their most popular song) also directed the video for the title track, “Right Action.” In the video, the band rocks out in cropped technicolor images to the lyrics popping up across the screen, making the song an anthem you want to fist pump to. In fact, every song on this album seems to have that affect: Franz Ferdinand is back to keep you fist pumping for a fourth time around.