Biffy Clyro – Opposites

It seems that world-domination wasn’t quite enough for Biffy Clyro. Following the mainstream success of Only Revolutions a few years ago, plus their already-popular Puzzle album, the band has recently seen their success go from strength to strength in a very short space of time, and before they knew it, Biffy Clyro became a household name. The whole episode apparently took its toll, and the band has been quiet for a while. That is, until now, because they’re back with an epic double-disc album, Opposites.

Biffy Clyro

It’s ambitious, which is good because it has a lot to live up to. Only Revolutions was an album that could very easily be listened to from start to finish (without noticing, either). To boot, Puzzle was exactly the same, so consistency is definitely a must with Opposites. Happily, it lives up to it – Biffy Clyro set the tone with opener Different People, which starts slowly and patiently, as if the band know that they have a lot of time on the album to get their musical point across, and that they’re certainly going to take their time about it. Next up is the familiar notes of released-single Black Chandelier, and listeners know that they’re settling in for the long haul. The first disc proceeds to up-and-down its way through to the end, and the second disc opens with the again, familiar sounding Stingin’ Belle, bringing a first-time listener back into familiar territory and keeping them going. Clever.  

Opposites is a showcase of a much darker sounding Biffy Clyro. Not so much musically, as the music itself sounds very similar to previous albums, but instead more thematically. The music is as consistently interesting, different and idiosyncratic as it ever was, and the heavier guitar parts sound very similar to previous albums (well, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it). But the lyrics and themes of the songs get across the feeling that this album is the culmination of a lot of emotional effort, sweat and tears. Next-to-gone are the more quirky, comical sounding songs such as Who’s Got a Match? and Born on a Horse, but instead in the upbeat songs, the themes are more ‘serious’ than before. There’s a prevalence of more emotive sounding songs, too. The Joke’s on Us and Little Hospitals are great examples of this, speedy and interesting, but somehow more weighty and substantial than before.

There’s not many issues with this album either, but the main one is that new listeners of Biffy Clyro won’t appreciate the differences in sound and theme that an experienced Biffy listener might. That doesn’t matter, though, because it’s still a great album to start listening to. It might be a little overwhelming to a casual listener, though, because there’s a heck of a lot to take in. It also cannot be listened to in one go, from the beginning of one disc to the end of the other, because there’s purely just too much.

Biffy Clyro have managed to pull off something very special, overall. Opposites is a very consistent album from start to finish, with so much to listen to it’s almost like a project to undertake when listening to it for the first time. It showcases more mature, deep sounding and thoughtful Biffy Clyro, if that’s even possible, and that’s great to see.

 

Track Listing

Disc 1

1. Different People

2. Black Chandelier

3. Sounds Like Balloons

4. Opposite

5. The Joke’s On Us

6. Biblical

7. A Girl and His Cat

8. The Fog

9. Little Hospitals

10.  The Thaw

11. The Sand at the Core of Our Bones (Instrumental)

 

Disc 2

1. Stingin’ Belle

2. Modern Magic Formula

3. Spanish Radio

4. Victory Over the Sun

5. Pocket

6. Trumpet or Tap

7. Skylight

8. Accident Without Emergency

9. Woo Woo

10. Picture a Knife Fight

11. The Land at the End of Our Toes (Instrumental)

 

Biffy Clyro is…

Simon Neil – Guitars, Vocals

James Johnston – Bass Guitars, Vocals

Ben Johnston – Drums, Vocals

 

Sam Saunders

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.
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