Feature /// Franz Ferdinand: Let’s Do It Right

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Big words about becoming this special band who change music and rewrite its certain rules are easier said than done. For most bands it’s only a fantasy, but for others – reality. Having named their band after one of the most important people in the beginning of World War I with the idea of becoming a similarly crucial element in their art, Scottish quartet Franz Ferdinand didn’t start any wars, but have indeed made a great impact on the world of music. And it’s more than just words.

Franz Ferdinand are possibly amongst the most down-to-earth bands you’re ever likely to come across. Having made it big in their late twenties – early thirties, the musicians had gained enough life experience by that time to stand firm on their feet and not to be caught into all sorts of traps major music league had put here and there. Their experience includes getting Mercury Music Prize, BRIT Awards and several Grammy nomination, and thus appearance at the famous red carpet, and numerous best-of lists in all sorts of media. You can hear their tracks in several computer games and at sports events, but there’s one thing that differs Franz Ferdinand from most a-list musicians: they never take anything for granted and don’t consider themselves celebrities to the point of throwing tantrums when dressing room walls are of the wrong colour or the water in their bottles is too cold. To be fair, Franz Ferdinand are not celebrity types at all, it’s just not their cup of tea, and, besides, they hate talking about themselves.

This was why while working at their latest album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ the band totally isolated themselves from the outside world recreating the atmosphere of working at their breakthrough, self-titled debut 9 years ago. As explained by the band, quietness is the most suitable environment for them to work in and the buzz which haunted the musicians after the release of ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’ and ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand’ was unhealthy, putting Franz Ferdinand under a lot of pressure. This time they wanted to do things differently.

The result is a funky, full-of-fun, laid-back album full of indie hooks with infectious dance beats and atmospheric ballads performed in the best traditions of Franz Ferdinand. Lyrics came first inspired by the most varied things (Alex Kapranos’s superstitious Greek grandma or vintage postcards found by the frontman at some market in London among the others), then music came and then, when everything was ready, the band started peeling unnecessary elements off their songs. Yeas, you’ve read it right: instead of putting extra sound layers on the songs to make them sound “better”, more overproduced and thus impossible to recreate live, Franz Ferdinand got rid of the useless skins and bared the souls and true characters of their songs, as well as true character of the band.

When you listen to ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ or, basically any Franz studio album, you know that when you come to their live shows, sending everyone into a dance-till-you-drop frenzy, you won’t be disappointed as you know you’ll hear exactly what you’ve heard on the record. They have been doing this for over a decade now and it’s been working for them perfectly. That was how Franz Ferdinand managed to rewrite some music rules: they charted really high on both side of the Atlantic with their most unpop indie and even though chart-friendly, their music is of an absolutely different breed.

Franz Ferdinand are the band who aim at the originality of music, but not at fitting in some artificially-created boxes. That’s why they never really cared that returning with new material after a four-year gap (which can be akin to death in the modern world music) might prove challenging for the band. It simply couldn’t be that hard for Franz Ferdinand just because originality and authenticity are two things that are typical of great music and are relevant at all times. There’s only one complaint from us listeners for such a long absence: we missed you so much, Franz!

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