FRANZ Ferdinand have rediscovered their sense of fun, after years away from the spotlight.

They spent considering whether the band should break up, but the Take Me Out guitarslingers returned last year with Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.

As they gear up for a Barrowland appearance next Tuesday night, the quartet are already looking ahead, and are working on new songs with LA synthpop act Sparks.

"We've been doing a bit of stuff with those guys, although it's all primordial," says bassist Bob Hardy.

"It's fun, but nothing firmed up. It happened to come up when we bumped into them in the street in San Francisco last year and after we went for a few drinks we started talking about it.

"We're kinda open to anything at the moment as a band. It's like when we first started - if it's fun then why not?"

That sense of enjoyment came across last year when the group played a storming set at the QMU.

It was a noticeable difference from when the band were touring third album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, and Bob admits the quartet approached Right Thoughts with a determination not to repeat previous mistakes.

"When we decided to make the record one of the things we wanted to avoid was going into the studio for six months and locking ourselves away until it was finished," he explains.

"We did that on the third album and it wasn't an enjoyable process, so we wanted to break this up, only go into the studio when we had songs to record, and only be there five or six days.

"That way you never get sick of being in the studio, you feel energised and you have a bit of distance to look at what you've done."

That process clearly helped to avoid making the recording a chore. "If you lock yourself away for six months then it starts to feel like a job, like something you're obliged to go to," Bob adds.

"The reason we're in the band was because they we don't want real jobs, so you want to keep the fun in it."

There's no doubt that Franz were burned out after making Tonight. They occasionally reappeared in Glasgow, playing tiny gigs in Mono and Nice N Sleazys, but for the majority of time the foursome were silent.

For Bob, the entire time apart helped provide a sense of perspective.

"When you're a band, and you're touring and working together all the time, that can get quite intense," he says.

"It's like being on a holiday with your friends - if you went away for four weeks with them, even if they were your best friends, you wouldn't want to hang with them for a few days when you get back.

"Imagine that for over eight years. It was pretty healthy to have a break, and reconnect with our real lives."

Those real lives will always be linked to Glasgow, where the band first formed.

"People always say that it's because it rains so much that people stay inside and play with guitars in Glasgow, so maybe there's some truth in that," Bob says, wryly.

"Glasgow's just so relaxed creatively though. It's so far from London that you can just do what you like without interference from the 'business' side of things."

As for Franz Ferdinand's own music, the aim remains the same as at the start of their career.

"We still like to make people dance, girls or boys, just anyone that wants to dance."

l Franz Ferdinand, Barrowland, Tuesday, sold out, 7pm