Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, ‘FFS’

FFS is an art-rock supergroup, bringing together Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, a Los Angeles synth-pop duo whose experimental theatrics have made them cult figures in Britain for 40 years.

FFSBoth bands tend to divide opinion, but — love them or loathe them — they were made for each other.

The two groups share a verbal playfulness, a fondness for a good hook and a jagged energy that can verge on the histrionic. The voices of Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and Sparks’ falsetto-loving Russell Mael — half of Sparks with brother Ron — intertwine gorgeously on the project’s self-titled debut.

The songs trace a series of vivid vignettes and characters, ranging from an autocrat’s offspring (“Dictator’s Son”) to a suburban terrorist (“Little Guy from the Suburbs”) to a guy who thinks he has a chance with a girl who’s out of his league, on “Johnny Delusional.”

The album is wordy and playful, bravura and glam, and self-referential to the point of self-indulgence.

Not everyone will embrace its retro synth sounds and operatic vocal harmonies. But it’s hard to resist any band that rhymes “martyr” with “Sartre” and “Hugo Boss” with “dental floss.” (AP)

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