Kingston, London, New Slang
29th August 2013
Right band, right songs, right show from the sprightly Scottish art-rockers.
“Right thoughts, right words, right action, right now!” declares Alex Kapranos, after the briefest of preambles and before kicking tonight’s show into life with the alluded-to single.
Arguably, now couldn’t be more the right time for Franz Ferdinand to make their comeback. After a four-year gap between albums, and during a year that has seen precisely naff all in the way of big-name indie-rock releases worth listening to, hearing them put everyone out of their misery is a real thrill as, in the words of The Quietus’ Jeremy Allen, they are “a pop machine that keeps firing out hits”.
Not, it should be clarified, the sort of hits that require any validation from the charts, but that which justify a band’s existence a full decade after their bonny Glaswegian faces first appeared on everyone’s radars. The razor-sharp art-rock riffs of ‘Right Action’, sonically bridging the gap between Talking Heads and Interpol, show up FF as a band who have never lost what made them so likable in the first place, and for whom making an excellent fourth album is as simple as going back to basics.
It’s songs from this record that make up nearly half of the set-list, which, while they might not accrue the same mosh pits as the early singles just yet, are applauded uniformly alongside them. ‘Love Illumination’ is a personal highlight, serving as this year’s answer to Tame Impala’s ‘Elephant’ as far as spiraling, dual guitar solos are concerned. ‘Take Me Out’ unsurprisingly sees the most explosive reaction of the night, though it gets me worrying over the strength of McClusky’s dance-floor – any other day of the week it sees about as much raw energy as a squashed lemon.
The only misstep comes during the encore, beginning with straight man’s gay anthem ‘Michael’ and ending with two new album tracks. The reverse might have been better received – as good as ‘Treason! Animals.’ and ‘Goodbye Lovers & Friends’ are, as closers they peter out the atmosphere rather than bring it to a sweaty climax. All things considered though, it’s a trivial gripe. Whatever, if anything, Franz Ferdinand mean specifically by thoughts, words and action, they dish it out in spades. It’s certainly all right by me.