By Jennifer Quinlin
Released Feburary 1st, 2013 - Warner Music
'Opposites', the latest offering from Scottish alternative-rock trioBiffy Clyro, is the band's sixth studio album, following on from the success of 'Only Revolutions' in 2009. The band comprises lead-singer/guitarist, Simon Neil, and twin brothers James (bass) and Ben Johnston (drums).
The deluxe version is a double-album, with a generous 22 tracks. There is an enormous risk that the band will be spread too thin, and potentially lose the essence of what makes them a standout band but what is presented, however, is an extremely well-constructed, thoughtfully collated selection of music which carries you through the many elements that has rightfully garnered the band a very loyal following over many years. Given the personal challenges the band members were experiencing during this album, including the well-documented battle by drummer Ben Johnston with alcohol, it is a credit to their ability as musicians that this album is so cohesive.
Neil and the Johnston brothers are in fine form, possibly the best of their careers to date, and there exists a comfortable blend of their "old sound", for the Biffy faithful, and some forays into new ground. Simon Neil remains a masterful lyricist, with clever and often poignant lyrics, especially evident in the slower tracks where you have a chance to breathe and absorb.
Standout tracks include "Spanish Radio", a track that caught me off-guard with the trumpet/mariachi opening but quickly had me engaged by the syncopation driving the track, topped off by the harmonies the band do so well; "The Fog", a stirring and emotive piece; "Little Hospitals", a typical Biffy Clyro thumping track that reminds me of the first time I saw the band live and felt my hair fly out horizontally from the wall of sound; and "Modern Magical Formula", for its pulsating bass-line and snappy beats.
The addition, in the deluxe version, of two instrumentals is a nice touch. Named "The Sand in the Core of Our Bones" and "The Land At the End of Our Toes", lyrics taken from "Sounds Like Balloons", they provide an opportunity to enjoy the solid instrumentation of the band.
Biffy Clyro fans will no doubt already love this album, so if you're looking for a powerhouse trio that offers clever lyrics, tempo variations, a mix of in-your-face rock and gentle ballads, and tunes to suit almost any mood then 'Opposites' may just be for you. Currently sitting at number 1 on the UK album chart, this is a solid, comprehensive, and satisfying album.
4.5 / 5