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Jun 10, 2015 FFS Bookmark and Share

Beyond that excellently coined acronym-cum-moniker, the coming together of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks feels like a perfect match. Both are successful art rock outfits (albeit from different eras) with a penchant for the preposterous and both are widely assumed to have seen the back of their heydays. So, how better to rejuvenate their careers than a collaboration of ticklish riffs, quick-witted quips, and the occasional naughty word?

If the concept sounds like fun, then the reality doesn’t disappoint. It’s not that this is a perfect record, or one that will be pushing for top spot in the end of year list frenzy; but-if accompanied by the large pinch of salt it requires-it represents an intelligent and playful platform that lifts the two groups out of their twilight years malaise.

From the stiletto-kicking, Queen-styled romp of “Save Me From Myself,” to “The Power Couple”‘s piano marching growl, this is a record that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The seven-minute kaleidoscopic clanging of “Collaborations Don’t Work” underlines this fact; with Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael swinging between operatic histrionics and smooth-tongued crooners while a melange of ants-in-your-pants melodies saunter away underneath.

The killer cuts are more linear of sound. “Piss Off” rattles along to a rink-a-dink brawl of drunken keys and bellowing chorus, and the ambiguously titled “Call Girl” gyrates to a salacious bassline. But it’s “Little Guy From the Suburbs,” with its tender strums and Kapranos’ deep, dreamy wheeze, that steals the show as a masterful, Cohen-like reflective swirl.

Over 45 minutes, the combination of Sparks and Franz Ferdinand creates a thrilling, rollicking ride of sex-starved, amphetamine-laced, glitter-splattered, satire-drenched rock music. And while it might not mark a revival in either’s long-term fortunes, itin its own overblown, pompous wayis an unexpected triumph. (www.ffsmusic.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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