Scots Biffy Clyro return with their first studio album for 4 years, a period of time that has seen the band reach unprecedented levels of mainstream success, and new double-record, ‘Opposites’, looks to keep the upward trend going, and, it just about manages it.
It’s an 80-minute, 20 song odyssey that takes place over two ‘CD’s’ entitled, ‘The Sand at the Core of Our Bones’ and ‘The Land At the End of Our Toes’, with both managing to take the ‘Biff’ further away from their original hardcore roots, with flirtations on the successful stadium rock formula that brought them so much joy back in 2009. There’s a few new synths thrown in, Celt guitar riffs a plenty and lead singer Simon Neill’s distinctive tones the centre of every song they produce.
It may upset some previous Biff fans, as they mix up their genres a fair bit throughout the record. For example, the very beginning of the album sounds like ethereal U2 at their ‘best’, before finally kicking off. Then the spiky opening guitar on, ‘Sounds Like Balloons’, reminds the listener of their past sound, but smelts their new, epic choruses together, with the end result working.
Just to round off the unpredictable nature of the running order, the following song, the titular, ‘Opposite’, is a schmaltzy ballad that wouldn’t go amiss on a Snow Patrol or Paramore album, yet is guaranteed to feature on a future rom-com’s soundtrack, you heard it here first! The closer to the first album, ‘The Thaw’, sounds perfect for the next X-Factor winner’s debut single, it’s full of angst, orchestral strings and soft melodies, ripe for an overdramatic, exaggerated version from the nation’s favourite new ‘star’.
Over to album no. 2, which kicks off with the roar of lead single ‘Stingin’ Belle’, with an intro that reminds of their past sound, with bag pipes thrown in for good measure, as it reaches a sky-high crescendo. ‘Spanish Radio’, is my favourite track on the behemoth that is this album, it’s a fun, catchy little song that incorporates more shiny new sounds into the standard Biffy sound, this time a Mexican mariachi band. Sounds strange but it does work I can assure you!
Moving onto ‘Skylight’, which has a sombre, yet almost RnB/electronic vibe to it that grows as the song progresses, building and building throughout, then just petering out into successor, ‘Accident Without Emergency’, another slow tune, but ends up in a satisfying classic Clyro ending. It seems a bad note to end on, but then the fun ‘Picture a Knife Fight’, comes along, mixing a bit of blink-182 with organs-interesting.
It’s hit number one already in its first week on sale, proving that the band, success-wise continue on the up, along with their announcement as the second Reading & Leeds headliner, yet more good news for the Scottish trio and their merry band of fans. It’s not a bad album by any stretch, just nothing too special. ‘Biblical’, ‘Black Chandelier’ and ‘Spanish Radio’ have edged their way to the top of my favourite songs based on repeat listens. Check it out!