More bands should try merging for an album or two. Especially two bands that didn’t seem to have any clear link prior to amalgamation, like Scottish dance-rock four-piece Franz Ferdinand and campy L.A. synth-pop brothers Sparks, who have made something like 22 albums since the early 70s. Together, they sound kind of Bowie glam, kind of ELO, but never dated.
It might be too weird for the average FF fan – Dictator’s Son is total nerd prog, for example, and most of the songs take sharp turns – but others will find that the pair-up has revitalized FF’s sound and taken it in a far more interesting direction while also giving an overdue spotlight to Sparks. Vocal duties are seamlessly shared between FF’s Alex Kapranos and Sparks’ Russell Mael, a shockingly smooth passing of the baton in every song.
There’s lots of droll and quirky dance-floor fare on offer – Police Encounters, The Man Without A Tan – downtempo musings, energetic rock ‘n’ roll and straight-up left-field experiments like the cheekily titled Collaborations Don’t Work. So far the tour is completely European, but fingers crossed that this six-headed curiosity makes its way across the pond.
Top track: Johnny Delusional