Franz Ferdinand and Sparks are collaborating the sounds of early glam rock, synth pop/art rock, and combining it with a newer dance-rock/post-punk revival sound to form the band, FFS. Sparks have been around since the early 70’s and have made a name for themselves in the music industry for their theatrical stage presence, their exquisite musicianship, and their imaginative songwriting. Franz Ferdinand came about in the early 2000’s with their spellbinding blend of punk undertones and artsy fun dance music. Both bands have an established place in the music world, and have established more than just a cult following.
Sparks now with the new collaboration album they did with Franz Ferdinand, “FFS” has 23 albums under their belt! With no two albums ever sounding exactly the same. Franz Ferdinand have also been working hard the past 13 years, and have five albums out. Both bands are making and have made big steps in the pop world and are always doing things differently in order for their sound to stand out.
The opening title, “Johnny Delusional” rapidly got me to start tapping my feet, and dancing through the treacherous chore of putting my laundry away. The playful piano, enthusiastic vocals and body shaking synths merges the best and most stand out qualities of each band, while still allowing each groups sound they’re known for to stand out. “Police Encounters” became my favorite song off the album the second it hit my ears. I love the cheery synths mixed with the slightly sorrow piano, and how quickly the tides turn and the lyrics become fast-paced. I have flashes of what this song would do to a crowd at a concert, and can only imagine that people would be flailing their bodies, moshing and be overcome with euphoria.
“Little Guy From The Suburbs” cools things down a bit from the bulk of the album. A soothing number with shakers, and tranquilizing guitars. The slight sing talk voice of Alex Capranos, minimal instruments, and shocking lyrics are reminiscent of the ever so graceful Lou Reed. While, a song like “Look At Me” has electrifying synths, and the vocals can make someone feel like they are being seduced through their speakers. “Piss off” is a song that has the most accurate title. The second I heard this song, I felt like I could feel the pissed energy from the entire band, and in turn it made me slightly pissed. Pissed in the most loving fashion, of course. The energy makes you feel like you out of nowhere have the courage to tell anyone that really gets under your skin to, “piss off.”
“Collaborations Don’t Work” was the first single I heard that they came out with and I loved that they were contradicting the project that they were working on together. With quirky lyrics like, “Mozart didn’t need a little Haydn to chart.” They self reflect towards the end of the album with this tune, and question whether or not this is something that they could have done all by themselves. They might have been able to, but it would mean that each band would have to go out of their comfort zones without the help of another group and try to come up with a new sound and style for themselves. Even if they don’t believe collaborations work, they have made an album that takes many twists and turns, and will keep you moving consistently.
We can only hope that FFS will come out with another album together, but I think it is highly unlikely. Both bands have their established sounds, and while they will be merging an array of fans all together, they must stay true to where they came from. “FFS” is loaded with synths, glammy guitars, and keys at every corner. It’s a fantastic party album, and is guaranteed to bring everyone to slug their bodies around.
Bella Elbaum is a Los Angeles based writer and music enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter