Opposites

biffy-clyro-oppositesThe time has finally come, if you’ve been following the blog you will have seen that in the build up to this release I’ve been reviewing all of Biffy Clyro’s albums and now we come full circle; to the reason all this hype began, the Scottish trios new double LP Opposites. Now the only question left to answer is whether the album lives up to expectations?

Everything kicks off with Different People which starts off softly before bursting into a windy, ripply guitar heavy track, its a strong opener that sets a tone for the whole record which makes a point of mixing light and shade, obviously reflected in the title. One of the big claims the band made in the build up to the album was that it should have material to keep the old and the new fans happy, effectively incorporate all their previous styles into this one record. On first listen it may be that this album is a million miles away from their old stuff but on repeat listens it becomes clearer that there’s sprinkles of their old heaviness throughout. Black Chandelier for example features a solo that wouldn’t have been out of place on Infinity Land. There’s bits that sound like Blackened Sky too, the chanty choruses of Picture a Knife Fight or Victory Over the Sun. The orchestral elements that have been a part of the band’s work since Vertigo of Bliss is apparent in Opposites in it’s most complete form yet making it the most epic sounding album they’ve ever made surpassing even Puzzle which was their previous best in terms of scale.There’s improvements on the poppy sounding pieces familiar to that of Only Revolutions Little Hospitals being a one example and one of my favourite tracks of the whole album.

When stacked up against all their old albums I think Opposites stands up very well among all the bands previous efforts perhaps not reaching the heights of their masterpiece to date, Infinity Land, but certainly improving on both Only Revolutions and Puzzle and there is certainly more here for fans of the old stuff, with Opposites the choice to have it as a double album has really worked in the bands favour giving them the opportunity to put out a more holistic record painting a more complete picture than their last effort. Biffy have done it again.

 

Infinity Land

If you’ve been following my album reviews you will have seen I have been working my way through Biffy Clyro’s albums in the run up to the release of their new album Opposites. Well today is the turn of Infinity Land, the groups third album and the moment when they really put their mark on the world. Infinity Land is almost certainly they’re best album and I’m going to try my best to explain why.

When I first listened to Infinity Land I have to admit it wasn’t my favourite, I always preferred it to Vertigo of Bliss but I was for a long while adamant that Blackened Sky was their greatest. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly when but there was a point about a year and a half ago that I realised what a truly great album Infinity Land actually is. It takes the grand scale and awkward, disjointed nature of …Bliss and builds them into what is a more complete, fully realised vision.

Right from it’s opening track it’s clear that this is something completely different. ‘Glitter and Trauma’ starts off with an electronic build up flowing into a head banging riff that forms the basis of the song. But this more mainstream sounding riff is broken up at various intervals to be replaced by strange plucky, off-beat sections making the song jittery and messy. This, essentially, is what the album does as a whole. Just as you get into the flow of a song that sounds more normal you’ll be jolted into absurdity. But it is in these moments of absurdity that Infinity Land improves massively on …Bliss because these sections are done with so much more aplomb. It is very interesting to see how the band grew after that record and they became so much more able to reflect their vision within their music. The multi-layered ‘Wave Upon Wave Upon Wave’ is perhaps the best example of what the record has to offer and is, maybe, my favourite Biffy song altogether.

Infinity Land marks the end, really, of this era of Biffy, their next album Puzzle would see them start in a new direction, but Infinity Land also marks their most fully realised unique album they have done so far. This album is one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

 

The Vertigo of Bliss

 

Since all my last few posts have been film reviews and there has been a lack of interesting albums released in the last few weeks I thought I’d take the time to review an old album, furthermore, since a moth or so back I reviewed Biffy Clyro’s debut Blackened Sky I thought I’d further my back catalogue with a review of their follow-up, 2003’s Vertigo of Bliss. Aka the one with the woman fingering herself on the cover. Anyway, slightly bizarre artwork aside, let’s talk about the music.

The Vertigo of Bliss is a much more experimental album than it’s predecessor and it is, arguably, the first time Biffy manage to get themselves a unique signature sound, not discounting any good qualities of the first record, I love that album, but this is where things start to get a bit more special. Introducing  very disjointed sounds and a lot more screaming, with Vertigo of Bliss Biffy Clyro use their skilful instrumentalism to spring board off into an album that spreads into the unknown. It’s clear the band are starting to feel much more comfortable to do something more risky, add some punch and throw in some more unpredictability.  There are parts of songs that don’t even sound connected to the last section but rather than being un-listenable it somehow, on some sub conscious level, works.

It’s not 100% madness though, there are moments of real thoughtfulness on this record. Questions and Answers for example is not quite so experimental it is much more thoughtful lyrically, and much more standard musically and is one of the albums stand out tracks. Toys toys toys, choke toys toys toys is obviously the one most people remember from this album and that is perhaps the most mainstream sounding track on here, it shows a band with a great diversity though, and in many ways Toys toys toys… encompasses all the different elements that have been tossed together in the songs of this album.

As a summary of my relationship with the record I have to say, the more mainstream songs I don’t like as much as the ones on Blackened Sky whereas the more experimental tracks I don’t enjoy quite as much as the ones on Infinity Land, but Vertigo of Bliss still has something going for it. Whether it’s just an interesting album that bridges the creative gap in between Blackened Sky and Infinity Land or if it has a complete charm of it’s own I could never decide. But it is nonetheless one that everyone should listen to.

P.S. I’m excited very much for Opposites, watch this space for more Biffy reviews

Land, Sky and Sea

Well, I have to apologise since I have missed out a week on here due to me being stuck on a camping site but fear not for I have burst back with vengeance and have covered many of Earth’s elements in my latest posts.

We start with land, if you decide to click on the TV Reviews link you will find my review of Jimmy McGovern’s The Street which was written ahead of last night’s premiere of series two of Accused. Moving on to to sky and if you feel the urge to head on to the album reviews page I have done a review of Biffy Clyro’s Blackened Sky to coincide with the unveiling of their new single ‘Stingin’ Belle’ so feel free to let me know your opinions on the journey of the Biff. And finally clicking on my film reviews link will see you finding your way to my review of Ponyo, the story of a small fish who wants to become human, please, have a look around and any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.

Blackened Sky

 

Biffy Clyro have, in recent years, become one of Britains’ most celeberated bands but this week I’ve decided to go back to their roots and go part of the way to explaining why they are one of my favourite bands. Biffy’s debut album Blackened Sky is, in my view, one of the most underrated albums of the last few decades.

It’s obviously a much more raw sounding record from what you would expect of the Biff nowadays but that’s where it works. The songs move from rusty melodies into meaty riffs and awkward screams which in future albums would come to define the band their. Some of the groups best songs can be found on this album ‘Justboy’, and ’57’ probably being the most well known but there are even better ones to be found that you may not have heard of, ‘Christopher’s River’ being a personal favourite. The album doesn’t have the gloss of Only Revolutions or Puzzle nor the experimental side of Veritgo of Bliss or Infintiy Land but it has it’s own charm that none of their other records have captured. This album deserves so much more praise than it gets, it’s an awesome debut for one of the greatest bands that are around right now.