Spin Cycle

Biffy Clyro – Opposites Review (The 14 song version)

What’s funny about Biffy Clyro is, they’re headlining Reading and Leeds Festival and won NME’s Best British Band award (and they’re Scottish, HA!), but in the US you can see them for about $15 at a 900 capacity club. For some reason, they haven’t quite become a huge sensation in America, but the release of their latest album Opposites will most likely change that, especially since they’re the openers of Muse’s US Spring Tour on the east coast.

With ambitious, powerful tracks, the trio shows their strengths and complete compatibility, even though the album title suggests otherwise.

“Different People” starts the album off slow, but then picks it up to a scintillating gallop. Simon Neil is talented at using his voice as an additional sound, rather than just a word, which continues into first official single “Black Chandelier.” The dripping chandelier above matches the lyrics of tension between the lovers, just looming overhead.  The bridge highlights these nonverbal vocal sounds while adding a unique twist to Biffy’s overall sound.

“Sounds Like Balloons” is quirky, blended with guitar rock and gentle keys. “This is not, for your entertainment” almost exemplifies Neil’s personal lyrics and the heart he puts into each song.

Similar to the title, track “Opposite” is tender and sweet with a tinge of tragically beautiful. Not to compare them to Foo Fighters, but Biffy Clyro has a certain tendency to be a heavy guitar rock band, and a gentle ballad band, the opposites in play.

In a moment, “The Joke’s On Us” flashes back to the melodic rock. Stand out guitar riffs and isolated lyrics “I’m in love with somebody else” cut through the silence. “Spanish Radio” makes you wonder if they’re taking note of their spring tour mates by slightly changing up their style, adding horns and a day at the cantina feel.

“Victory Over the Sun” and “Biblical” pull out your heart and your lovesick romantic side. With strings and poetic lyrics intertwined with raging guitars, the former makes opposites attract. Possibly one of the more notable ballads on the album, the latter reimagines a failed romance from its passionate beginning.

“Stingin’ Belle” contains possibly the best lyrics you can imagine, “grow some balls, and speak your mind, you think you’re cool like a porcupine.” It also has bagpipes, I mean, could you get any more Scottish (or badass)?! This track was first premiered on BBC Radio 1, and upon first listen, I was hooked. The thrashing, head bashing guitars and pounding drum resolved into a glorious salute demonstrates the many levels that Biffy is capable of.

Another haunting ballad of emptiness and everythingness, “Skylight” leaves a chilled feeling and beautiful imagery of a darkened sky. “Trumpet or Tap” is slick, sexy and edgy, as Neil’s voice makes the staccato all the more powerful.

“Modern Magic Formula” takes off like a runaway train, with drummer Ben Johnston’s fast paced beats setting the tone. Neil’s vocal instrument continues with stunted screams, adding a bit of heavy rock to their melody.

“The Thaw” is a tender track that desires to melt the frozen relationship with picturesque words of nature.

Closing track, “Picture A Knife Fight” is a prime example that a band really only needs 3 people to make a huge sound. Neil’s vocals mimicked by James Johnston’s creates that loop. “We’ve got to stick together” are the last words, and that says more than enough about the sincerity and love this band has.

Grade: A

Recommended Tracks: Biblical, Stingin’ Belle.

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