According to a line in one of Franz Ferdinand's newest ditties, Goodbye Lovers & Friends, Alex Kapranos hates pop music. This seems like a bit of a white lie, given that his band evidently remain stylish purveyors of hummable guitar-pop.
This gig, celebrating their first album in four years, opened as it meant to go with the sharp Right Action, complete with a whacking great big sing-a-long friendly chorus. The years away seem to have crystallised the group's idea of what they do, with the majority of new tunes sounding as if they could have been lifted from their first album, never mind a fourth.
What has changed from a few years back is the pleasure the band seemed to take from it all. If their tours in 2009 were polished but perfunctory, here was guitarist Nick McCarthy going for a stage dive, or Kapranos strutting across the stage in full pomp during a pounding Matinee and sounding lusty on Do You Want To's greasy glam-rock, feeding off a raucous crowd .
He did find time to acknowledge his mum, like a good lad, and musically the new songs were close to familiar ground too, snappy riffs aplenty. There is a valid argument that bands should seek to explore new territory, but Fresh Strawberries' blend of gloomy lyrics and sunny melody, and Treason! Animals' Kraut-rock backbone (which let drummer Paul Thomson cut loose) suggested a foursome grasping their own identity again.
Mighty versions of Take Me Out and Michael not only sparked delirium, but also served as a reminder that they've always been a band with the dancefloor at their core. There was enough here to suggest they're worth another spin.