Showing posts with label sparks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sparks. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2015

video review: 'ffs' by ffs (franz ferdinand & sparks)

Well, this was a tricky review to get out, but then again all of my reviews feel tricky these days.

Next up, Kacey Musgraves - stay tuned!

Friday, June 19, 2015

album review: 'ffs' by ffs (franz ferdinand & sparks)

I've talked a little about artistic team-ups before in this series, when two distinctive groups merge together to create a distinctly unique musical project. Sometimes the clash between the bands becomes the underlying arc of the album, like on the stunning performance art collaboration between Savages and Bo Ningen last year Words To The Blind. More commonly, one act tends to eclipse the others, especially when the styles of the two bands overlap. And with rare exception, that tends to be the older, more experienced act that takes dominance.

So on some level, when I heard about the planned collaboration between acclaimed, genre-bending cult band Sparks and indie rock group Franz Ferdinand, it almost seemed too obvious. Sparks had been a player in the first wave of glam, disco and synthpop, Franz Ferdinand had been one of the main frontrunners during the indie rock revival of the genres in the mid-2000s. Both featured frontmen who had a knack for overwritten, too clever by half lyricism that was always a little too hyperbolic and ridiculous for its own good and yet still manages to maintain its cool. Now Sparks has done everything as an act from changing genres about eight different times to releasing full on rock operas, and while the quality has been wildly uneven depending on the era, they've got nothing to prove. Hell, when Franz Ferdinand approached Sparks about the idea a decade, Sparks frontman Ron Mael sent Franz Ferdinand a demo titled 'Piss Off'.

But a decade later, with Franz Ferdinand maturing as a band and Sparks not having dropped any new material in about six years, they joined together into the supergroup FFS and dropped a self-titled record. And really, why not? For Sparks, it's a shot to introduce themselves to an audience who might never have heard of them, especially given the massive discography going back to the beginning of the 70s. And for Franz Ferdinand, it's a chance to work with long-time veterans and personal heroes and give them an excuse to get weird again. And while I absolutely adored Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action - which totally holds up as one of my favourite records of 2013 - Sparks might be able to add more focus to Franz Ferdinand's off-kilter experimentation. So, did FFS deliver?