Thursday 14 December 2017

Toe-tapping tracks are just intoxicating

Franz Ferdinand: Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action (Domino)

Frontman: Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand
Frontman: Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand

English beat poet Pete Brown hit a vein of good fortune denied to most of his struggling contemporaries in post-war Britain, when his work caught the attention of rock power-trio Cream.

Harnessing Brown's quirky lyrical skills, Cream had hits with I Feel Free, White Room and Sunshine of Your Love, and more. The writer formed Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments but, on the eve of playing the Stones' historic Hyde Park concert, his own band sacked him. His follow-up outfit, Piblokto!, recorded an album that, in name alone, foreshadows the philosophy of snazzy Scottish quartet Franz Ferdinand.


Things May Come and Things May Go But the Art School Dance Goes On Forever might well be embroidered on a pop-art cushion in Chez Kapranos, because the Franz Ferdinand frontman has found the inspiration from somewhere to reconnect with the spirit of the band's original manifesto.

You'll recall their debut album in 2004 announced that their aim, contrary to bands at that time, was to make music "for girls to dance to".

For their fourth album in nine years the band have realigned their scratchy guitar jangle with the verve of an end-of-term group exhibition. Splashes of colour, rickety assemblages, kinetic combines and a toe-tapping soundtrack makes this an intoxicating show.


The title track is an anthemic, three-minute statement of intent, hammering home its message of mortal salvation with a bouncy-castle bassline that sings of fun. "How can we leave you to a Saturday night or Sunday morning?" they enquire. Quite. Let's all join in. The glam-rock thump of Love Illumination is adorned with the blasts of the cheesiest cheap organ since Question Mark and the Mysterians, as if to undermine the sincerity of their promise, "If you're lonely... We could love you." Fresh Strawberries is a breezy evocative meditation worthy of Chardin. "We'll soon be rotten," they note to surf guitar. "Forgotten."

Nothing could ever tempt me to visit music in a field. But this album at Electric Picnic just might.

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