Luke Haines is an utter bastard. There I was ready to write my review of FFS – the collaboration between 1970s oddball pop duo Sparks and latter day art rockers Franz Ferdinand, when the former Auteurs man wrote this perfect review of their album.
So gone are my lines about the playground chatter concerning Sparks’ emotionless keyboardist Ron Mael looking like Hitler. Gone are the references to FFS putting younger bands to shame with their inventiveness and clever take on pop and rock. Haines has already covered that.
So what I’m left with is simply an echo. This album is just great, with the pop and witty lyrics of stellar tracks such as Johnny Delusional or Police Encounters providing power, bombast and a tonne of other adjectives that make you want to get up a dance. Even the slowy, Little Guy From the Suburbs, is full of clever, Bowie like balladry.
From start to finish it feels hectic, fun, insane and emotional, especially with Ron’s brother Russell’s high pitched vocals in full effect here.
What also emerges is one of music’s best collaborations, and one that had an inevitability to it, with Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos being a huge fan of Sparks. Russell and Kapranos’s deep and high vocals are also perfect aligned here, like Difford and Tilbrook in Squeeze they deserve to be together.
While both acts have a solid back catalogue to fall back on for the tiresome heritage pop trail, here they’ve created something wholly new, which as that eloquent git Haines points out, shows a band that is “experimenting and unafraid, whilst the younger dudes are sticking to the stencil.”
by Joe Lepper