It’s somehow disconcerting to discover the best album of the year so early, and with the input of Frightened Rabbit and Glasvegas, 2013 could well be the year of the Scots!
Biffy Clyro, over the past decade, have risen from a quirky bunch of potentials to a platinum selling stadium band. ‘Only Revolutions’ adopted a more commercial slant, whilst retaining credibility and thrust the band to dizzy heights, a level that promotes great expectation. The issue of a B-side compilation and a superb live album have kept the enthusiasm simmering nicely, but the sixth studio album was always going to be the real gauge for which those critical axes were being sharpened.
Time and effort have been invested well and there’s no doubting the band’s capabilities. Simon Neil has become a skilled and prolific songwriter and they are all polished virtuoso musicians. A bold move on their part, all the same, to release a double, almost conceptual album, then adding more musical breadth, with strings, brass and even bagpipes.
The result is their pièce-de-résistance and its exacting precision and execution take them to a whole new level. Whilst it becomes anthemic in places, the blend of hard rock, progressive invention and beautiful serenity is meticulous and there’s not a weak track on the album, making it as complete a work as you are likely to hear all year and an essential contribution to contemporary music.
It’s pompous, it’s bloated, it’s totally self-indulgent and it’s absolutely fucking amazing.
Words by TC