Over the last decade, Biffy Clyro have carved out one of the most ridiculous careers in all of British music. Clawing their way up the ladder, having laid their foundations in squalling, jagged indie, they soon grew to become behemoths of the rock world. With their last album ‘Opposites’ - both massive in sound and tracklisting - they stepped up the top plate and hit a home run. Where to go from there, however, was where their real challenge lay.
Their new album ‘Ellipsis’ starts with a laugh; a mad scientist cackle from Simon Neil that signals the start of something new, something different. It pretty swiftly follows through on its promise. The soaring chants of ‘Wolves of Winter’ are unmistakably Biffy, but there’s something ever so warped about the track as a whole. Swinging from vocoder-drenched vocals to intriguing guitars, it’s an opener that seems to show the lay of the land, and sum up the album’s personality.
Throughout ‘Ellipsis’, there’s a strange sense of fun that’s not been fully present within their previous records. Where their older offerings saw them build upon the firm foundations of guitar-bass-drums, here, they’re fucking with the system and giving anything a go to see how it stands up. The warmth of ‘Re-arrange’ exudes through its dreamy textures, while the playful harmonies of ‘Friends and Enemies’ – along with the track’s accompanying children’s choir – elevate it to a new kind of anthem.
Granted, there are still lots of very Biffy moments littered throughout the full-length. ‘Medicine’ is another reflective offering akin to their gorgeous ‘God & Satan’. ‘On A Bang’ almost channels Queens of the Stone Age in its introduction, before descending into a full-blown frenzied attack of lines like ‘Why can’t you fucking do better?!’ Yet, being followed by a country-esque singalong like ‘Small Wishes’ – complete with a bit of whistling and honky tonk piano – shows the band swerving in a different (and admittedly unexpected) direction yet again.
An ambitious double album filled with reverb and distortion this it not, but if a new, playful kind of Biffy Clyro take your fancy, there’s more than enough of ‘Ellipsis’ to dive headfirst into.
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