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CD: Biffy Clyro – Opposites | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Biffy Clyro – Opposites

CD: Biffy Clyro – Opposites

Noisy Scottish trio go for the epic on their double concept album

Biffy Clyro: big on soundscapes, small on surprises

Biffy Clyro's sixth album certainly wins in the value for money stakes. Opposites is a double album clocking in at 78 minutes which finds the Kilmarnock trio developing their big, expansive sound and getting to grips, both lyrically and musically, with their arena-bestriding status. It is bold, brash and exciting in places, but it also feels as if it is continuing the process of smoothing over the rough edges which made the band so interesting when they first emerged in the early noughties.

It is easy to dismiss Biffy as part of the genus Hotelus Tidyupus – that well-mannered literate rock sub-species including like Maccabees and Bloc Party who look like they would be more likely to polish the TV than lob it out of the Holiday Inn window. But still waters clearly run deep. Vocalist/guitarist Simon Neil has spoken about suffering from depression, and dark thoughts seem to bubble up in the lyrics here. "I shouldn't laugh but I know I'm a failure in your eyes," he sings on the itchily infectious pseudo-soft rock of "Black Chandelier". At its best the music mixes brightness and bone-jarring juddering rhythms. Sometimes in the same song. The opening track, “Different People”, veers perilously close to sunny power ballad before a sudden yet welcome gear change into proggy, pulsating syncopated beats and then back again.

There is no doubt that this tension between the commercial and the discombobulating can sometimes prove to be creatively useful. The trouble is that here the commercial seems to be gaining too much of an upper hand. Opposites would be vastly more satisfying if there were more tracks like "Fog", where the glossy keyboard motif abruptly dissolves into fuzzy guitars or "Sounds Like Balloons", where Neil essays some deliciously fidgety riffs. Instead much of Opposites could fit in snugly between The Killers and Coldplay. Great for the bank account, not so sure about the soul.

Watch the video for "Black Chandelier"

At its best the music mixes brightness and bone-jarring rhythms

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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