Biffy Clyro have never stood on ceremony or followed rules, they can transition from hard riffs to pop hooks with ease. A Celebration Of Endings, the Kilmarnock band’s ninth studio album, sees them exploring, enjoying, and mastering both these skills.
Based on the singles prior to its release, you could be forgiven for thinking the Scots have gone soft with age. It was all quite clean. But you need not worry, Biffy come back as jagged as ever across the album, and remain a relevant voice in British music.
Opening track ‘North Of No South’ puts to bed any doubts of them losing that heavier sound. After teasing with twenty seconds of plucky guitar chords the band let loose with a riff that reminds us why they remain so coveted. “Southless, there’s nothing below, up above us is only darkness,” harmonise the band, this is Biffy back at their brazen best.
‘The Champ’ begins as a slow piano ballad with an accompanying string section, almost nursery-rhyme like, before moving into more familiar territory with a tongue in cheek response to those who look shun progressive agendas. “Don’t gimme that bullshit catch phrase ‘it was better in my day’, because I know you broke every little thing that you built,” Simon Neil exclaims.
The lead single, ‘Instant History’ was only a periscope above the trenches in showcasing the direction they were going with this record. The track is an announcement, “this is the sound that we make,” scream the band – knowing full well their sound can never be defined.
Ending with the brilliantly brutal ‘Cop Syrup’, the trio, like most of us, seem to have had it with 2020, especially those currently holding power. “I’m not dumb, and I’m not blind; Turns out you’re the lying kind,” Neil sings. The crescendo of the track is juxtaposed from the start and the instrumental features strings that could stir the most cold of hearts. Do not let that fool you though, the sing picks up again, concluding in the best Biffy way possible, “f*** everybody!” Well put.
A Celebration Of Endings is a brilliant record, showcasing how the band continue to be full of surprises, featuring so many changes of direction you may get whiplash. In a recent interview Neil described the album as “confident chaos”, which is pretty spot on. This is Biffy Clyro on a high, and we should expect nothing less.