Biffy Clyro are back.
Three years after the release of double album 'Opposites', the band released their seventh (yes - seventh!) studio album 'Ellipsis' on Thursday 8th July.
The album artwork features the three band members (Simon, Ben and James) individually curled up in a line, forming an ellipsis. They re not clothed - providing a powerful, bold sense of imagery. In an interview with the band, I heard them describe this as representing a 'rebirth' of the band, almost as if they were starting again after their while away.
Now, blog posts are arguably meant to be quite short...so I'm not going to talk in depth about every song on the album - I'd really encourage you to sit down, take an hour out fo your day and listen to the album from start to finish. There are a few curve ball songs and Biffy have clearly thought about the positioning of each track in order to keep the listener interested. Therefore, I have picked out some of my favourite songs to summarise 'Ellipsis'.
I feel like I have to mention 'Wolves of Winter', the opening track.
It starts with some laughter and a distant vocal which I think introduces the album really well.
Then - crash, the drums and guitars we are familiar with burst onto the scene and throw the track into a heavy, unapologetic rock anthem.
In short, the mentality behind the song is that there are a pack of wolves and if someone comes onto their land - they'll come to get you. Ben describes this as 'the clan Biffy Clyro getting back together' due to the fact that they haven't been in the public eye as much for the past year. In an interview with Radio X, the band described this song as their believe in yourself message with a hidden prog rock template masked by hopefully a catchy pop exterior.
The second song on the album is 'Friends and Enemies'.
I found this interesting as it is a prime example of Biffy using the studio as a sort of fourth band member this time round as drum machines and other technology has been used.
Inspired by a 'Tears for Fears vibe' (Simon interviewed on Radio X), the song features more hip hop like rhythms than I believe the band have used before.
Moving on, 'Re-arrange' is slowly becoming my favourite song on the album. After the first three, much more rocky, songs that introduce the album, 'Re-arrange' slows things right down. It sounds much more like a pop record due to the repetition of a clean guitar part and claps with hip hop inspired drum beats.
The first line of the chorus really struck a chord with me (pun slightly intended...) 'I would never break your heart, I would only re-arrange, all the other working parts would stay the same'.
I think this is a beautifully written lyric.
A similar song in terms of slowing things down is 'Medicine'.
There are no drums!!
But there is a beautiful acoustic guitar and gentle strings that make the track sound very atmospheric.
'Medicine' is about living your life addicted to someone or something and trying to live without relying on that thing to be who you are. A lyric that sums this up perfectly in my opinion is 'so swallow your problems, we belong to a new dawn'.
In complete contrast, the shortest song on the album may very well be the most intense.
I am talking about 'On a Bang'.
The only way I can describe this is in your face anger represented sonically.
It is about people who misrepresent themselves or ignore bad things in order to survive and features stacked synths and a distorted bass. The track is said to be inspired by Peaches.
It seems as though Biffy have embraced the use of other genres on this record. This is particularly true for the next two songs I am going to talk about - 'Small Wishes' and 'People'.
Biffy go country? Was my initial reaction to 'Small Wishes'.
Featuring great harmonies in the chorus, a fantastic guitar part, catchy drums and ragtime piano, I'd argue that this track isn't what typically springs to mind when you hear the words 'Biffy Clyro'. Although it is a slightly different direction it is written with the same lyrical integrity and I really like that Biffy have embraced their country side.
There's even some whistling!
'People' has a jazz feel during the introduction and is very mellow, allowing for an almost nostalgic feel. It is about how, sometimes, sad moments can bring us closer than happier moments. I believe this would sound great in a live atmosphere due to the emotion in the song.
All in all, 'Ellipsis' is a joyful album with colourful guitar tones that uses a lot of animal imagery (and of course we can't forget the amazing Scottish accent associated with Biffy!).
I really enjoyed listening to the album and hope you will to (if you haven't already!).
Until next time...