Over the years, hundreds of bands and musicians from the United Kingdom have been successful in U.S. markets. One of these, Biffy Clyro, has built on the success of their previous two albums with the release of their newest album, “Opposites.”
The three-piece band from Scotland formed in 1995 as a post-grunge project. They toured and released three albums over the course of 12 years and received little success until the release of their fourth album, “Puzzle.” This album was far more listener-friendly than previous works, but still incorporated some of the more off-kilter elements of music from their past.
With the expanded success of “Puzzle,” the group toured, then went back to the studio and spent the summer of 2009 recording “Only Revolutions.” This album would shape up to be their greatest work since their inception, and featured numerous singles that received airtime on American radio.
Biffy Clyro had finally hit its stride, using a musical formula that worked for the band and garnered attention from new fans. In 2011, they toured with the Foo Fighters across the globe and played at venues as large as the Milton Keynes Bowl and Wembley Stadium. “Only Revolutions” received great reviews from critics and reached platinum status in the U.K.
A broader fan base and critical acclaim led to the recording of “Opposites,” released in January. It is a double album with 20 tracks, making it the band’s biggest release to date. They play off of the momentum built by the previous two albums, combining the best elements of both “Puzzle” and “Only Revolutions.”
The title “Opposites” may suggest that the two-disc work would represent two different ends of the musical spectrum, but it doesn’t. Both halves of the album work seamlessly together to provide an arena-ready, raw, yet beautifully crafted sound. The mixture of experimental and mainstream rock only adds to its theme, and listeners can tell that Biffy Clyro are levels above where they were prior to 2009.
The first single that was put out for the album, “Stingin’ Belle,” starts out with a very heavy riff on a strange time signature, but throws together vocal hooks, heavy guitar and even bagpipes to give it a sort of tone to describe the entire album. Lead singer Simon Neil’s vocals paint an alluring portrait of his cryptic, wise and often humorous lyrics with a touch of Scottish charm. “Black Chandelier” and “Pocket” are much of the same in comparison to “Only Revolutions,” giving radio-friendly twists to songs that have experimental elements.
Double albums can be very hit or miss for bands — either they become commercial successes or catastrophes. For someone new to the band, “Opposites” could take a few listens to truly grow on the listener, but Biffy Clyro does an incredible job of keeping things interesting with each track. The group does not sacrifice its creativity to fit in with the mold of modern rock, but provides a brilliant blend of sound that will entice and appeal to both alternative and popular rock fans alike. Altogether, the album warrants 3.5 out of 5 stars, an imperfect yet impressive follow up to “Only Revolutions” that could have been either mediocre or a total flop.
Joseph Wenberg is a junior in public relations. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.