Biffy Clyro – Opposites – Review

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In Keeping with what I said the other day about trying to update this more often again I thought I’d start by Reviewing one of the albums I’ve been meaning to do for the last 4 months!! Biffy Clyro’s latest offering ‘Opposites’. Lets start by stating the obvious it’s no real secret that I’m a HUGE fan of this band and that in all honesty that probably will cloud my judgement slightly with that being said however I still think that ‘Opposites’ is a REALLY good album especially considering it’s a double album.

‘Different People’ starts the album with some synth slowly getting louder before Simon Neil cuts in with his guitar and vocals for a continuation of the mellow build up before it hits into a riff that everytime I hear reminds me of ‘The Pretender’ by the Foo Fighters, the guitar tone is fantastic and you can tell from this early point just how polished this album is going to sound a really strong way to start the album! Up next is one of the lead singles from the album ‘Black Chandelier’ which is an obvious choice for a single very radio friendly big epic arena sized chorus, but the star of the show in this song for me is the little beatdown bit. ‘Sounds Like Balloons’ comes next and is the first song to capture that quirky Biffy Clyro guitar style, it then proceeds to merge that with arguably the hugest sing-along chorus on the whole album, you also get the first taste of the funnier side of Biffy Clyro’s lyrics ‘Ancient Rome, we built that fucker stone by stone’. Next to appear is the mellow semi acoustic number ‘Opposite’ which takes the place filled by ‘God & Satan’ on ‘Only Revolutions’ or ‘Machines’ on ‘Puzzle’, a perfectly nice little song but definitely treading on areas they have before. The first song I heard from this album was ‘The Jokes On Us’ when it was debuted when Biffy supported the Foo Fighters at Milton Keynes, as soon as I heard it then I liked it and I remember listening to the grainy sounding crowd shot versions of the song for quite a while afterwards.. it sounds really great on record really crisp and precise. Another single ‘Biblical’ comes now before another three songs give way to CD1 closer ‘The Thaw’ which is another of the more mellow beautiful Biffy Clyro songs and is a really nice way to conclude the first half of the album.

Disc 2 starts with the first song that was officially released from the album ‘Stingin’ Belle’ which is very to the ‘Opposites’ album what ‘That Golden Rule’ was to ‘Only Revolutions’, by which I mean that heavier sounding really meaty sounding song, I find that Biffy Clyro tend to when you see them live, with the first song, either give you an epic opener such as ‘Different People’ like on disc one, or a smash mouth straight at you opener, with this album they achieve both starting each disc with the opposite (no pun intended) ends of the spectrum, this song is concluded by the awesome addition of bagpipes!! ‘Modern Magic Formula’ follows and displays some of that quirkyness again as Simon ‘Freaks Out’ this was one of the 2 previously non played songs they cracked out when I saw them at Download. Next to appear on the album is a mariachi band for the song ‘Spanish Radio’ which is an interesting and different vibe, ‘Victory Over The Sun’ follows which is in all honesty probably my favourite song over the double album, it has such an old school vibe to it, so much so it would probably slot straight into the ‘Blackened Sky’ album relatively unnoticed, as it is a slow builder with lots of clean picking before eventually they slowly build up on the distortion a little bit at a time, I genuinely can’t put into words how much I love this song. The less said about ‘Pocket’ the better really it’s the one song No matter how many times I’ve tried I just can’t take to it’s just far too… poppy. ‘Trumpet or Tap’ sees the inclusion of a genuine tap dancer on the chorus and is another song that is a slow burner as it gently winds it’s way to an heavy conclusion. ‘Skylight’ is another massive high point in the album for me it’s such a beautiful song and it genuinely gave me goosebumps live. Finally another couple of decent songs give way to the final song ‘Picture A Knife Fight’ which is rockier number with yet another huge chorus clearly written for the huge arenas they now fill on tours a pretty solid way to finish a very strong album.

Overall as I say I think there is probably some bias in this review but even when I push that aside (or at least attempt to) in my opinion you are still left with an extremely strong rock album, and what will in all honesty come the end of the year be in the mix for one of my albums of the year (Along with the next to be reviewed ‘The Next Day’ by David Bowie) in a time where guitar music is definitely on the decline in the mainstream at least Biffy Clyro are one of the few shining beacons left keeping the fight alive!

Rating: –

8.5/10

Tracklisting: –

Disc 1

01. ‘Different People’
02. ‘Black Chandelier’
03. ‘Sounds Like Balloons’
04. ‘Opposite’
05. ‘The Jokes On Us’
06. ‘Biblical’
07. ‘A Girl And His Cat’
08. ‘The Fog’
09. ‘Little Hospitals’
10. ‘The Thaw’

Disc 2

01. ‘Stingin Belle’
02. ‘Modern Magic Formula’
03. ‘Spanish Radio’
04. ‘Victory Over The Sun’
05. ‘Pocket’
06. ‘Trumpet Or Tap’
07. ‘Skylight’
08. ‘Accident Without Emergency’
09. ‘Woo Woo’
10. ‘Picture A Knife Fight’

Recommended Tracks: –

‘Victory Over The Sun’, ‘Skylight’, ‘Black Chandelier’, ‘The Jokes On Us’, ‘Sounds Like Balloons’

PDC

Mumford & Sons – Babel – Album Review

This is the first in a series of albums that I’ve been meaning to review recently, including among others the new offerings from Muse, Soundgarden & Stone Sour. Since Mumford & Sons ‘Babel’ was released before all of those I’ll start with this. I remember before Christmas a couple of years ago hearing ‘Winter Winds’ on Radio 1 and really liking it, after then hearing a couple of other tracks I proceeded to purchase and fall in love with ‘Sigh No More’. This their follow-up I already had a good idea what to expect with as between seeing them perform new songs in Brighton and the countless live versions of new material from their consistent touring about half of the album had already been heard before it was released.

From the second the album starts with the title track ‘Babel’ it is instantly recognisable as a Mumford & Sons record and this is definitely a theme that continues throughout the album, the musicianship is as accomplished as ever if not more so than on ‘Sigh No More’, and the album exudes an upbeat energy that it is nigh on impossible not to get swept up in. Lead single ‘I Will Wait’ effectively unleashes a rolling barrage of Banjo and how can that be a bad thing? I really believe there needs to be more Banjo in music and Mumford deliver this for me. The slower tempo and somber feeling to both ‘Ghosts That We Knew’ and ‘Lover’s Eyes’ are particular highlights for me I love their slow gradual builds and even more so the reemergence of the vocal harmonies that helped make the first album and their shows so memorable for me. ‘Hopeless Wanderer’ which sees the introduction of some electrical instruments is another flash of brilliance in my opinion, the harmonies are there once again and I find it impossible not to get sucked in by the energy of the song. ‘Below My Feet’ is along with ‘Lover’s Eyes’ probably my favourite song on the album it is another song that slowly builds to the huge crescendo ending, and I know I’ve gone on a lot in this review about the bands Vocal Harmonies but that is one of the things I genuinely love most about this band and for me ‘Below My Feet’ is the most special example of this on the album.

Overall as a fan of the first album I was always going to fall in love with ‘Babel’, but therein I guess would be the only criticism I could find in this album, it is a bit similar to ‘Sigh No More’ however for me the progression in musicianship and the sheer infectiousness of it throughout is more than enough to keep me interested. Overall if like me you are a fan of ‘Sigh No More’ you will almost certainly find something for you on ‘Babel’.

Rating: –

7/10

Tracklisting: –

1. “Babel”
2. “Whispers in the Dark”
3. “I Will Wait”
4. “Holland Road”
5. “Ghosts That We Knew”
6. “Lover of the Light”
7. “Lovers’ Eyes”
8. “Reminder”
9. “Hopeless Wanderer”
10. “Broken Crown”
11. “Below My Feet”
12. “Not With Haste”

Recommended Tracks: –

‘Ghosts That We Knew’, ‘Hopeless Wanderer’, ‘Lovers’ Eyes’, ‘Below My Feet’

PDC

Soundgarden Stream New Album ‘King Animal’ Online

Let me start by once again apologizing for a lack of updates recently but I’ve been having major issues with my laptop and had to reinstall it twice now, I am hoping now (Touch Wood) that it may be sorted. Anyway to the point Soundgarden are streaming their new album ‘King Animal’ Online at the NME Website HERE, So head over and check it out!

PDC