Harvest Plans For Franz

Celebrating the release of its fourth studio album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action with a sold-out London gig, Franz Ferdinand have returned from a four-year hiatus to deliver familiar pithy lyrics and virile beats, with a slight undertone of introspection. Demand for tickets meant that fans were required to enter a lottery for the opportunity to buy them, the show delivering songs of old and new in classic dapper fashion. Australian fans need not worry about lottery selection for their chance to see Franz Ferdinand, as the band returns to Australia for Harvest Festival in November.

It doesn’t feel as though a decade has passed since the Scottish indie rockers took the world by storm with their inescapable breakthrough single Take Me Out, a potent mix of danceable post-punk. Franz Ferdinand’s sound was a refreshing oddball in an era of predictable fare, thrusting the band into the clutches of fame.  While many might attribute this track, along with their 2005 followup, You Could Have It So Much Better to the mainstream-ifying of indie music, singer Alex Kapronos adamantly quashes such allegations, claiming instead that indie music fluctuates between periods of mainstream and non-mainstream.

“I would never call ourselves an indie band. We were a band on an independent label. I do not think we are a part of this horrendous, generic genre of indie music and particularly that thing that happened after our first record…for me it maybe changed after the Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and that sort of thing. There was another type of indie that appeared, then with grunge in America there was another type of indie again, which appeared and hit the mainstream. Maybe indie is the wrong word. Maybe it is just like the alternative eventually hits the mainstream. It is going to happen.”

Indeed Franz Ferdinand’s rise to fame was rapid and relentless in terms of tours, appearances and the overall demand placed upon the band. While You Could Have It So Much Better circumvented the dreaded sophomore fallout that often comes with a near perfect debut, it seemed as though the lads fell just short of the mark with 2009’s Tonight.
A fine record delivering that catchy No You Girls track, the album rounded off a common career arc from which few bands make an artistic recovery. Despite the lack of commercial hits from Tonight, the festival circuit was always open to Franz Ferdinand, perhaps because they still carried that timeless cheek, which they famously described as “music for girls to dance to”.

Fatigued from expectations of the industry and persistent touring following their third studio album, the band took a breath. It recently came to light that this four-year breath consisted of a near break-up of Franz Ferdinand, Kapranos revealing in an interview with GQ, “If you feel under obligation to do anything you resent it. If you face up to it, and declare ‘I can end this now and not regret it,’ your perception changes radically. Aye, knowing we could instantly break up the band made us appreciate it.”

On getting back together for Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, guitarist Nick McCarthy explains, “I think we felt good abut each other. We sorted out our friendships. We did a few things on the side as well after we toured the last time…I realized that I play in a really, really good rock’n roll band.”

Kapronos adds, “What a band is, is a social dynamic. It is a group. It is a band. It is a gang… It is when I sometimes see a band later on in their career and they do not want to be in the same room with each other because they do not get on anymore. That is when it is difficult.”

Appreciating what they had and finding the self-assurance to produce an album on their own terms, Franz Ferdinand’s latest album captures the relief of pressure that comes with knowing that a decade-old band cant be nominated as the cool new thing. Rather than transporting us to new musical territories, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action sounds like one big, knowing smirk.  The songs on the album, while buoyant, youthful and injected with dancefloor desire, are also mature and reflective.

“Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action” for me it reflects the positivity of the band at the moment. The whole album is about questions. It’s about questions that ask more questions and trigger more questions within you. It is about choices like whether you will take a positive route or a negative route. I think the final conclusion was a pretty positive one despite the questions of mortality.”

Catch Franz Ferdinand at Harvest Festival on Sunday November 10 at Werribee Park. More info at www.harvestfestival.com.au


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