Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
For a brief period in 2004, Franz Ferdinand was the best pop group in the world. “Take Me Out” was the ubiquitous single that I still couldn’t hear enough. Their debut album was more like a mission statement that said, “We are funky white boys and we’re taking over.” Then with their second album they added, “Oh, did we forget to mention we rock too?” On 2009’s Tonight, they tried to figure out how many ways they could make a person dance. After four quiet years, they’re finally back with Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
Clearly they’re trying to make this album the living propaganda poster their debut was and not quite getting there. That isn’t to say its not good. With it’s dueling guitars and vocals, four-on-the-floor rhythm, and tasteful keyboards, “Love Illumination” is prime Franz Ferdinand at their best. “Stand On the Horizon” is kind of a disco epic, and I mean that in the best possible way. With “Evil Eye,” they’ve brought their white-boy funk to its logical conclusion – a black funk song with shades of “Atomic Dog.”
But if anything, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action cements their place as the heirs to Brit Pop. Supergrass broke up and no one really likes Travis. Plus, I defy you to find a song more poppy or more British than “Fresh Strawberries” that’s anywhere near as good. It approaches being cheesy so many times, but it’s way too good to care. After that is the album’s barnstormer, “Bullet.” This is the one that could probably get all of Glastonbury pogoing. Later on we hear “The Universe Expanded,” a dark, creeping, heartbreak song with the great chorus, “I’ll meet you coming backwards/Yes, I’ll meet you coming back/When the universe has expanded/Time will contract/You’ll come back.” It works on all levels, plus, it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pulp album. They may not be the best pop group in the world anymore, but they’re one of the best Brit Pop groups around and this is a dang good album.