A double album of evolution, showcasing a Biffy Clyro ready for any industry curveballs.
Al Fox 2013-01-16
The last time Biffy Clyro released an LP – 2009’s Only Revolutions – it expanded their glowing track record of top 40 appearances. With the singles chart now a Rihanna-centric guitar wasteland, the onus is on the album format to prop up a rock act. So Biffy Clyro are taking the idea and running – nay, sprinting – with it, making sixth studio album Opposites an attention-commanding two-disc behemoth.
The division between the two halves isn't as apparent as one might anticipate from a project such as this (with a title such as that). Thematically, each disc does adhere to its subjects – the former an anxious, bleak chapter, told with a raw intensity; the latter playing host to a more positive, uplifting premise.
But sonically, Opposites is very much a single body of work. The Sand at the Core of Our Bones (CD one) segues seamlessly into The Land at the End of Our Toes (CD two), making for an overall steadfast record that’s unmistakeably theirs.
There's ample opportunity for experimentation, it's just not executed in the most obvious way – rather than two separate threads going in two disparate directions, the evolution is diffused across the entire double album, lifting the project as a whole. Opposites, in perhaps the least expected of ways, is next-level Biffy.
In amongst the seismic riffs and knockout choruses that the band has made its calling card are twinkling vocal hooks, bagpipes, little punctuations of harp, yowling bass, and overt humour. Many of the above can be found in Stingin' Belle alone, which houses the lyric “you think you're cool like a porcupine”. For a band with the tools to be a staid, ever-earnest entity, a pleasing sense of wit continues to be a key facet of Biffy Clyro (even if any fool knows the humble hedgehog is where it's at).
Opposites depicts a band equipped for whatever curveballs the industry may throw, and not at the expense of their veracity. It may not fulfil the presumed promise of a huge epic double album, but it doesn't want to. It's a solid, engaging and high-calibre Biffy Clyro album. And that's no bad thing.