Tun­ing up for Tour de Franz

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MUSIC - KATHY MCCABE

WEL­COME to the Franz Fer­di­nand Guide to En­joy­ing Your Day Job. Rule one: Hang out with your band mem­bers.

Rule two: Record your al­bum in “spo­radic” bursts in your own stu­dios.

Rule three: Plan an Aus­tralian hol­i­day. Cor­rec­tion, book an Aus­tralian fes­ti­val tour.

The Scot­tish art- rock­ers are back on the air­waves, in­tro­duc­ing their fourth record with the sin­gle Right Ac­tion.

Th­ese stylish pur­vey­ors of rock that makes you dance have im­pec­ca­ble tim­ing, fol­low­ing up the re­lease of the new record Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Ac­tion in Au­gust with live shows, courtesy of Novem­ber’s Har­vest Fes­ti­val.

Front­man Alex Kapra­nos and his band­mates have ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence at Aus­tralian fes­ti­vals, hav­ing played Splen­dour in the Grass, Big Day Out and Falls.

Kapra­nos was might­ily im­pressed when in­formed Franz would be shar­ing the Har­vest bill with Mas­sive At­tack, Gold­frapp, Eels and Black Rebel Mo­tor­cy­cle Club, among oth­ers.

“Crikey! There’s some pretty amaz­ing bands there,” he said.

“I am very ex­cited about see­ing Neu­tral Milk Ho­tel. Their al­bum In the Aero­plane Over the Sea is one of my favourites of all time.

“Fes­ti­vals in Aus­tralia are al­ways the best. We’ve had so much fun when we’ve played them down there over the years. And it means we get to es­cape the stink­ing weather here.” The sound of Right Ac­tion and its com­pan­ion al­bum tracks harks back to the an­gu­lar, en­er­getic alt- rock that carved up in­die dis­cos when Franz dropped their self- ti­tled de­but record in 2004.

It’s an al­bum that sounds as if it was fun and ef­fort­less to make rather than a laboured ex­er­cise to re­cap­ture for­mer chart glo­ries.

“I think you’re right, it is sim­i­lar to the fi rst record be­cause it has the same kind of en­ergy about it,” Kapra­nos said.

“We re­ally en­joyed mak­ing it. In fact, of all the records we have made, I en­joyed mak­ing this one the most, by far. I don’t know ex­actly why but we were get­ting on re­ally well. Be­fore we even started writ­ing songs, we were hang­ing out and en­joy­ing each other’s com­pany.”

The ini­tial record­ing ses­sions were held mostly at band­mate Nick McCarthy’s Sausage Stu­dios, giv­ing the band the time and freedom they needed to cre­ate.

Main­tain­ing artis­tic rather than offi ce hours gave the band, in­clud­ing bassist Bob Hardy and drum­mer Paul Thom­son, the breath­ing space to eval­u­ate their works in progress and keep en­thu­si­asm on high.

“One thing that made a big dif­fer­ence is we recorded it in short, spo­radic bursts. We would go in for a week or, at the ab­so­lute max, two weeks and then go back and do some shows or some more writ­ing,” Kapra­nos said.

“We would only work on three or four songs at a time and only do a few takes. That made it feel like we were work­ing on a set of EPs.”

The band, who ex­ploded into the main­stream with their quirky tempo shifts and un­con­ven­tional pop song ar­range­ments on Take Me Out, This Fire and The Dark of the Mati­nee, wanted to re­claim their “quirky and odd” per­son­al­ity for their fourth record.

“Bob and I were talk­ing about that. We hadn’t seen each other much and when we met up in Orkney and we were talk­ing about what kind of record we wanted to make, you end up look­ing back at when you started,” Kapra­nos said.

“We were a weird bunch, odd and quirky and we still don’t feel like we fi t in any scene or a par­tic­u­lar genre. We agreed that it is a great thing and we shouldn’t feel self- con­scious about it. You should let your quirk run free.”

Right Ac­tion is out now. Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Ac­tion will be re­leased on Au­gust 23

ON SONG: Franz Fer­di­nand band mem­bers Nicholas McCarthy, Alex Kapra­nos and Paul Thom­son hold a pic­ture of bassist Robert Hardy.

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