Biffy Clyro - Only Revolutions
Record Label - 14th Floor
Release Date - November 6 2009
Biffy Clyro are a 3-piece band from Scotland that you should get acquainted with, if you haven't already, with haste. Remember that scene in the movie Garden State where Natalie Portman boldly states that The Shins will change your life? Well "The Shins" should have read "Biffy Clyro".
After bubbling away under the surface as the UK's best-kept secret for many years, the band finally and unexpectedly stormed the charts with their major label debut, and 4th album, Puzzle in 2007. Only Revolutions, the follow up to that album only further cements their place as a household name and a force to be reckoned with. To ask what this band sounds like would be to ask the meaning of life, a pretentious statement if I ever saw one but one that you may find aptly suits this band. This is a band, and album, which deserves every bucket load of praise heave upon it that delivers the type of forward thinking rock music that should be more dominant in the modern world. The band's sound is purely an amalgamation of every one of their influences (which include, but is definitely not limited too, Weezer, Tool, Will Haven and Kyuss) and then some.
The album kicks off with the sound of marching feet only to plunge into a chord progression that exhibits all the fuzz of Weezer but is backed by a brass section worthy of inclusion on the Pirates of the Caribbean movie score. The song, entitled "The Captain", comes off bizarre on first listen but with future exploration quickly transforms into a pop-rock masterpiece. This highlights another exciting factor of the Biffy Clyro sound, while it is very inviting it is also very rewarding upon repeat listens (often two conflicting ideas). Next up is "That Golden Rule", which begins fast paced and sludgy (like Kyuss) only to eventually conclude with an orchestral segment so darkly epic it should be sound accompanying the end of the world. Let me tell you now, BC may be a 3-piece but they come across with all the power of a 22-piece band. The beauty of this album is the how diverse it is, exploring many styles but channelling them through BC's trademark sound so making it stitch together seamlessly. "God and Satan" is an intimate acoustic ballad (which need not be a dirty word in this case) that explores Americana. "Borne On A Horse" is a spazzy indie-rock piece complete with equally crazy lyrics ("she's got hooves, preposterous hooves"). At the centre of the album, and possibly its best moment, is "Mountains", a song that is everything mainstream rock music should be in the 21st century. The song sound familiar and is catchy, yet it is full of flourishes and signatures that are exclusive. It also possesses a truly unforgettable chorus that will stay with you for the rest of your life. "Boom, Blast and Ruin" is a punky, straightforward number with a surprisingly uplifting and joyous undertone. While "Cloud of Stink" begins sporadically, then softens slightly only to build up to a riff full of fuzz, crunch and sludge.
In short this is what bands should sound like. Just as Sabbath took blues and turned it into heavy metal. Just as the Ramones took pop music and turned it into punk. Biffy Clyro take everything good about past music and turn it into their OWN sound, which very few bands do today. Diverse, cohesive, memorable, mysterious and completely original (not in the "so schizophrenic and weird I don't even know what to do with it", but I the sense that when you hear a song you immediately know it is them and no one else).