Scotland’s favourite sons Biffy Clyro are back and they’re hardly being quiet about it! Following their last double album ‘Opposites’, ‘Ellipsis’ gives fans a flavour of old Biffy in amongst a host of unexpected and new elements. First track ‘Wolves of Winter’ doesn’t so much introduce itself as it does break the door down in a way that hasn’t been seen since Jack Nicholson last got locked out of his bathroom, “here’s Biffy!”.
By now diehard fans and casual radio listeners alike will likely be familiar with ‘Wolves of Winter’ and will be eagerly anticipating an explosive seventh album, so did they get it? In a sense yes, tracks like ‘Animal Style’ and ‘On a Bang’ boil the blood and are ferocious in nature. Fans have however been able to listen to both for a while now even if ‘On a Bang’ was a live recording from Hogmany festival. Long-time fans may well feel satisfied with these tracks, especially the non radio edits as Simon Neil’s salivating swearing adds a little something and is immensely satisfying to hear, however it may be fair speculation that this album had the potential to be their best but may let itself down. Tracks such as ‘Re – Arrange’ show us a softer side to the band, and are welcome breaks between the heavier songs. Tracks such as ‘Friends and Enemies’ however feels a little uninspired and familiar, these dipping points may be in danger of killing the driving force of this album that you wish they’d really committed to.
Biffy Clyro have always been unpredictable, especially by popular music standards, their use of unusual time signatures and Simon’s fusion of rock ballad sensitivity and Braveheart war cry’s have seen them reach headliner status in recent years. It’s safe to say that ‘Ellipsis’ delivers on this front, with tracks such as ‘On a Bang’ providing fans quintessential Biffy, however you could be excused for mistaking the intro to ‘People’ as a B-side from Radiohead’s ‘Ok Computer’. Versatility in a band is a good thing though surely? Especially after six previous albums and a huge output of singles and compilation albums? Well, although this is true, it’s hinged on the execution of said versatility and otherwise great albums can suffer from inconsistency. Overall this is a good album, however it’s frustratingly not quite where it needs to be, which is to say that Biffy fans have extremely high expectations, and as a result they have to stand up to their own best material.
Despite its minor weaknesses, ‘Ellipsis’ is an album that fans can get their teeth into. Whether or not it’s your favourite from this Celtic powerhouse it certainly can’t be denied that ‘Ellipsis’ is not an album to ignore. Mon the Biff!
This Biffy Clyro article was written by Jacob Atkins, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.