The puzzle is whether this record is too tasteful to live up to their world beating...
Nick Reynolds 2007-05-16
Biffy Clyro’s fourth album is an ambitious modern rock record with plenty of variety and surprising twists.
Tracks like “Saturday Superhouse” race along efficiently enough. But it feels like the band are more comfortable with more melodic, lyrical moods than angst ridden post-Nirvana rock. The current single “Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies” and “9/15ths” feature tinny gothic choirs and Psycho-style strings, but I’m not convinced anything really nasty is going to happen.
Much better is the more subtle, rumbling, melodic pleasure of “As Dust Dances” which is pretty gorgeous and ends with the first of two lovely piano interludes. Biffy Clyro’s heart lies in big, lyrical, sincere, stirring music. On the metal map they’re closer to U2 than Metallica.
The range of ideas is impressive. Prog fans will enjoy the end of “Now I’m Everyone” where the tricky time signature and lush harmonies end up sounding like Yes. “Who’s Got A Match” is a sing along stomper, and beefy riffs abound on “Semi-Mental” and “Get F****d Stud”.
The puzzle is whether this record is too tasteful to live up to their world beating ambitions. The over clean production filters out dirt or sweat so it sometimes feels hard to get involved.
The stand out track “Folding Stars” breaks through that barrier and is really thrilling. Hundreds of years ago, a man sang a song to a woman he couldn’t have or couldn’t hold. All men have been singing that song ever since, at one time or another, and “Folding Stars” is that song. If all of Puzzle was as good as this, Biffy Clyro would be not be taking on the world, they’d have conquered it.