Saturday, 2 February 2013

Biffy Clyro - Opposites

Do Opposites attract?

This is a review that should have been posted a couple of days ago, but I needed to listen to this album multiple times for it to sink in. Seeing as Opposites is a double album, it required a lot of time and concentration in order for me to give a break-down on it. Alas, I'll begin.

The good ol' Scots of the Rock world; Biffy Clyro are back with their sixth studio album, and it's a double album too. Exciting stuff right? After the huge success of their previous effort, Only Revolutions, it was hard to predict where the band would next head in terms of their musical direction. Would they continue along the path of big anthems which attract a larger, albeit 'light rock and mainsteam' fanbase?, or would they delve deep into their roots and pull out some of their quirky style songs and use them as the guidelines for the new album? So many questions asked that need answering, and after having listened to Opposites, I am here to answer the questions.

As the album is split into two discs, I'll review each disc separately, starting with the first one which is entitled 'The Sand at the Core of Our Bones'. It seems that each disc has a theme, with the former being about the past and the "ifs, buts and maybes" of the world. The lyrics throughout suggest how you can look at an issue and pick out the worst possible solutions from it. It's rough-edged, like how you would expect. The songs are mainly speedy, like most Biffy songs are, but also the odd time signatures are back, like 'Puzzle' era and prior to that too. The jangly, furiously plucked guitar sound still exists in their tracks, making the songs equally as hard rocking as they've ever been. Overall the first disc sets the listener up on a journey, with the anticipation of what the second disc will bring.

The second disc is entitled "The Land at the End of Our Toes". You would think it would be an echo of the first disc, and in some parts that's exactly what it is, but there are also a number of different elements in the songs that portray the musical difference and incoherency between the discs. An example of this would be moments like the mariachi propelled song 'Spanish Radio' and the electronic components that trickle through the entire album, all in reasonably sized doses. Lyrically it is the more uplifting of the two discs, with this one exclaiming optimistic thoughts for the duration of the record. Simon Neil's voice is sounding strong, and so incredibly Scottish, just as we expect.

In my opinion the first disc is slightly more superior to the latter, but both have their strong points. If you want original, angular Biffy, mixed with aresemblance of their arena-filling hits off of the last album, then The Sand at the Core of Our Bones will be perfect for you. Generally, the whole album seems to lack the same spark that their previous albums have all had, it's almost as if they are trying too hard to top 'Only Revolutions' but have fallen slightly flat. Maybe a double album isn't the best idea, they could have just worked on a single album until it was incredible sounding and would be rewarding to listen to. However, Opposites doesn't have this effect. To conclude, it shows signs of promise throughout, but with the exception of a few songs, it is nothing groundbreaking, just generally lacklustre. The cliché of a rising Rock band releasing a double album has been completely met here.

Stand-out songs on the album(s): "Different People", "The Joke's On Us" and "Stingin' Belle"

Rating: 6 out of 10

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