Opposites – Biffy Clyro
Let’s start this review and end it quickly, okay? Biffy Clyro’s sixth studio album, Opposites, is the best rock album you’ll hear in 2013. Go forth and get either your digital or dexterous digits on it. I’m serious, you should just take my word for it … you can stop reading now.
Still here? Well, then I guess I can admit a level of personal investment. Having first heard Biffy’s fourth album, Puzzles, in late 2008, a wealthy back catalogue and a new release sustained me through my tilt at the 2009 HSC. The radio-friendliness of their fifth effort, Only Revolutions, left an incomplete taste in the discerning listener’s mouth. I’m certainly not one to deny evolution in the sound of a beloved band, but the simplicity of much of this last album left much to be desired.
Luckily, Opposites delivers not only a double album (The Land at the End of Our Toes/The Sand At the Core of Our Bones), but a synthesis to the problems which have plagued an increasingly popular band. For the aficionados out there, the newest release combines the instantly enjoyable surface of Only Revolutions with the insanity of recent B-side releases (“Lonely Revolutions” and “The Missing Pieces”) and the depth of their third album, Infinity Land. Moreover, Opposites debuted at #1 in the UK, but don’t expect much of it to receive Triple J air-time.
How do I explain this to the unacquainted? Imagine jagged riffs which can only be played at full volume whilst air-guitaring as you shout lyrics written by Dr Seuss on acid – such as the first single from the album, “Black Chandelier,” the insane “Little Hospitals,” and the heavy “Stingin’ Belle”. Slower tracks you’ll find yourself coming back to after your third or fourth listen: “Opposites,” “The Thaw,” and “Accident Without Emergency” (the closest thing to “Justboy” that Biffy have recorded since their first album, Blackened Sky). Oh, but don’t let me forget to mention the tracks which blend these qualities, the opening “Different People,” the new, brass sound of “Spanish Radio,” and the instant joy of “Victory Over the Sun”.
There’s something intimately disquieting about the realisation that your favourite band’s newest album is their sixth. Do I have to behave like an adult now? Will each new song be a decibel quieter? No. Go listen, there’ll be nothing else like this in 2013.