Ayrshire’s finest return with sublime album number nine and I am going to make a bold statement here – Biffy Clyro are a progressive rock band!!
Biffy Clyro – A Celebration Of Endings (14th Floor / Warners) Out now
Words: Robert Adams
Obviously I am not referring to the progressive rock of Yes or E.L.P, think more Muse or XTC and you will get the picture.
Simon Neil must have a crystal ball somewhere in his house, as this album was written and recorded before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.
‘A Celebration Of Endings’ is simply that – rejoicing in the end of the past and looking forward to a brighter and better future. That is the theme running through these eleven tracks.
Simon Neil told us: “This is a very forward-looking album from a personal perspective and a societal perspective.
“The title is about seeing the joy in things changing, rather than the sadness. Change means progression and evolution.
“You can retain everything you loved before, but let’s lose the bad shit. It’s about trying to take back control.”
Album opener ‘North Of No South’ lulls the listener into a false sense of security, by enveloping you with the trademark Biffy melodic goodness. So far, so Biffy.
‘The Champ’ opens with a beautiful piano and string arrangement with Simon Neil’s gorgeous vocal, before the band kick in and it is truly magical. The first inklings of difference appear with what can only be described as E.L.O-esque backing vocal harmonies.
‘Weird Leisure’ is where things start to get really interesting. A jagged rhythm leads us into a multi-layered chorus that is a mixture of old and present Biffy.
It is hard to imagine Simon Neil NOT thinking about playing ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’ live when he was writing this. It has all the hallmarks of an instant live favourite with a chorus that you cannot help but scream at the top of your lungs, along with a healthy dose of “whoa whoa’s” and “yeah yeah’s”. A complete no-brainer of a single.
From ‘Space’ through to album closer ‘Cop Syrup’ is pure XTC style progressive rock.
There are more twists and turns to be found here than at Silverstone race track.
‘Opaque’ is a gorgeous ballad with Simon Neil’s trademark vitriolic barbed lyric.
Biffy save the best for last with ‘Cop Syrup’. It is a musical three act play. Act 1 could have been lifted from their ‘Infinity Land’ album, with a wonderful jaggy guitar hook and screamed vocals. Act 2 is the more commercially melodic Biffy of recent albums, before Act 3 kicks in with a beautiful acoustic guitar and orchestral instrumental interlude, leading into a quick reprise of Act 1 to finish things off.
Upon first listen, you would think that ‘A Celebration Of Endings’ is a bog standard Biffy album.
That in itself is not a bad thing BUT when you dig deeper, you will find plenty of new and wonderful things to discover.
‘A Celebration Of Endings’ IS a prog album – it is a concept album of sorts and definitely sees the band progressing forward with differences to their trademark sound.
Whatever way you choose to class this album, the one thing that is certain is that it is a belter of an album.