FFS, FFS, review: 'polished, off-kilter pop'

June 7th, 2015 | by staff
FFS, FFS, review: 'polished, off-kilter pop'
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FFS: Russell Mael, Alex Kapranos, Paul Thompson (left to right)

FFS: Russell Mael, Alex Kapranos, Paul Thompson (left to right) Photo: Rex Features

I am not sure a collaboration between two cerebral art-pop bands of middling appeal can be referred to as a supergroup. This union of Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand with Canadian keyboard duo Sparks works surprisingly well none the less, presumably because they share a nerdy intellectualism employed with regard for melodic pop song structure.

The jittery energy in Franz Ferdinand’s rhythmic guitar drive dovetails neatly with Ron Mael’s staccato keyboard attack, while vocalists Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael delight in rattling off clever, high-speed lyrics with a quality of detached élan. As if set free from seriousness, they knock out some polished, off-kilter pop gems about inadequate individuals.

Obsessional love songs Johnny Delusional and Call Girl are quite glorious, harking back to an era when pop was brave enough to be awkward. Over the course of a whole album, though, their self-amusement becomes wearing. Some of the more elaborate conceits reek of a lively student musical in which the actors are intent on enjoying themselves more than the audience. There is an attempt to forestall criticism with a witty satire on the whole process, Collaborations Don’t Work. And if that doesn’t work, they conclude with a Pythonesque exhortation, telling detractors to Piss Off.

FFS is out now on Domino

Download this Call Girl

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