As far as unexpected collaborations go, it’s hard to get much surprising than F.F.S., a super group formed by ‘indie’ rock band Franz Ferdinand and living legends Sparks. After all, Franz Ferdinand represent commercial ‘alternative’ rock at its most polished and slick, whereas Sparks are a band whose career has been marked by oddball genius from the get go.
Given the bands’ differences, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Johnny Delusional, the first single from their upcoming album F.F.S. is a bit of a mess. The two groups seem to work against each other: the interesting, atypical elements of Sparks’ sound are made showy and dull by the introduction of Franz Ferdinand’s radio-friendly guitar work, and Franz Ferdinand’s hook-driven style collapses under the weight of Sparks’ deliberately overwrought oddness.
It’s not a terrible single. It’s simply a disappointment. Although it proves enjoyable while it lasts, by the time it’s over, there’s not very much left in its wake. It’s too weird for radio, but it’s too generic for Sparks fans, leaving it aimless and half-baked.
Apparently one of the tracks from the upcoming album is called Collaborations Don’t Work. The title was obviously designed to be an oh-so-wry little gag, but that’s not what it feels like now. Now, it comes across like the epitaph to be chiselled into F.F.S.’ tombstone.