Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

I didn’t realize it had been four years since Franz Ferdinand’s last record. I’m not sure if that says more about me, or these four wily dance-rock Scots. That album—2009’s Tonight—showed Franz Ferdinand’s proclivity for keyboards, which dulled some of the edges sharpened on their first two and pushed them dangerously close to the rest of the new-wave-revival pap. Of course, they’re a better band than that. Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action isn’t the bold declaration of a return to form that typically comes with an extended absence. That’s played out. But Franz Ferdinand does get their mojo back, with plenty of prickly guitars and Alex Kapranos’ sexed-up sophistication. “Bullet” and first single “Right Action” are dance-punk rave-ups in the spirit of the band’s spotless 2004 self-titled debut. There are a few surprises as well. “Fresh Strawberries” is one for the wallflowers, a sleek pop song with loads of jangle. “Stand on the Horizon” is the best of the bunch, a dark and sexy disco joint that floats into an extended string-laden outro. Right Thoughts is the most varied album of Franz Ferdinand’s career. But when it’s all said and done, you can still count on them meeting you on the dance floor.