Gary Flockhart: Sparks fly in Franz’s new supergroup

Franz Ferdinand. Picture: Robert Perry
Franz Ferdinand. Picture: Robert Perry
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FAMOUS friends getting together to forge a new musical path is nothing new, but all too often the product turns out to be less than the sum of its already successful parts.

Whatever the reason, there have only been a handful of supergroups worthy of the name since Eric Clapton formed Cream in 1966 – heck, even the Travelling Wilburys, with their star-studded line-up of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne were a bit of a disappointment.

FFS are a little different. Sure, they are a supergroup, but rather than uniting some of the brightest individuals in music, they’re unique in being made up of two entire bands that have joined forces – one half being our own Franz Ferdinand, the other, legendary LA pop duo Sparks.

That’s enough to make FFS worthy of attention, and mercifully, they’re really rather good.

“We thought it would work because of the way both bands approach making music,” says Franz frontman Alex Kapranos, pictured. “The fact we get on so well helps, but it was only really when we started exchanging songs that it was clear it was going to be a success.”

How successful remains to be seen, but what’s certain is that they had fun sending ideas back and forth, as evidenced by the first song they wrote together.

“Collaborations don’t work’ is the opening line,” says Kapranos. “We thought it was hilarious that that’s how [Sparks] would start off the work, so we responded with the line, ‘I ain’t no collaborator’.

“We weren’t sure we had gauged the humour correctly and thought it might backfire, but all these months later it looks like it might have worked.”

Indeed it might, and you can hear the fruits of this unlikely musical coalition when the band’s debut album arrives on June 8, while they play the Festival Theatre on 24 August as part of the festival.

FFS, don’t miss that!