Here’s a difficult supergroup: I don’t really like Franz Ferdinand because personally, their music doesn’t interest me one bit and it’s the epitome of the Britpop revival in the early 2000s resulting in a bunch of great bands that mostly developed into generic drivel (sorry, this is really harsh but as I had my musical blossoming during this time, it still stings that most of the bands back then turned out to be One, maybe two hit wonders).
On the other hand, Sparks are f***ing genious. There is nothing like a constantly hyper and manic pop outfit that creates music that is ironic but seriously professional and perfectionist at once. How does that work? And can Sparks save FF from the fate of their Britpop-Brethren? (well, save them from that fate to repeat because they already messed up the chance to be interesting on their own)
The answer is: well…not really. The Franz Ferdinand-ish ‚let’s do a song that is so repetitive in its building blocks that you are kinda annoyed by it even before you’ve listened through it once’ is still a big thing and therefore a big problem with quite a few of the new songs. But here’s the good news: there are hints of this over the top excitement that Sparks developed into an art and those hints are the saving grace for songs like „Save me from myself“, “Police Encounters” and „Dicator’s Son“.
To be fair, they’re much better on record. Live – man, that’s close to a trainwreck. No wait, it is a trainwreck.
However, thinking of the amazing soundtrack for the movie „Frank“ which played with the mixture of theatrical melodies paired with noise experiments and absolutely nailed art pop in reference to – amongst others – Sparks, the overall result of the real deal featuring the not really real deal is a little lackluster and weirdly…normal.
One might have expected a little more excitement and weirdness with a mixture like this but hardly any song got my full attention (for better or worse). Maybe, I am overly critical and maybe the comparison to „Frank“ is unfair (a single person doesn’t need to compromise with a bunch of others when writing odd songs) but this is amusing and interesting in theory but hardly revolutionary. To be fair, though – at least it’s not Metallica ft. Lou Reed-ghastly.
And to send you off with something charming, lovely, artsy and fascinating, let’s just revel once more in “Frank” – man, I love the music and the movie.