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Album review: Franz Ferdinand’s new album falls short of predecessors

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There’s a reason Franz Ferdinand became the known name of dance rock: It’s fun. It actually makes you want to dance in odd and awkward ways.

It’s been some time since the last Franz Ferdinand release, and the band comes back with a pep in its step and created an album that revisits its roots in dance rock as well as throwing in a few new elements. The newest installment from the Scottish band is at times a blur of music, crossing between energetic rock and synthesized sounds.

From the beginning of “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action,” listeners are made aware that Franz Ferdinand is indeed back. Immediately, singer Alex Kapranos’ vocals come barreling in, with all the distinctiveness they always have had.

The title song, “Right Action,” is the catchy single of the record, while “Love Illumination” is the more rock-based track. Right in the back of “Love Illumination” is a subtle hint of the opening section of MGMT’s“Kids,” giving the song several layers.

“Fresh Strawberries” manages to be both melancholy and light all at once. “We will soon be rotten / We will all be forgotten / Half remembered rumors of the old,” Kapranos croons out. It opens with a somber tone, but moves into light and airy as the song pushes forward into the less than permanent lives most people lead.

With a drum roll and then a guitar entering the picture, “Bullet” is a fast paced track with a distinct guitar line through the rest of the song. What makes Franz Ferdinand is the memorable guitar riffs that take over most all of the songs. It’s the same with “Treason! Animals.” Whether it is subtle or even over-the-top, the group crafts its instrumentation in an unforgettable fashion and melds it into subtle synth beats.

Where “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action” fails is that it doesn’t quite stack up to its predecessors. None of the tracks have the eerie feeling of “Ulysses” from 2009’s “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” or just enough oomph to beat “Take Me Out” from Franz Ferdinand’s 2003 self-titled album.

Grade: B+ 

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