Biffy Clyro prove that when they want to, they can still make some of the most interesting Rock within the mainstream, but for some reason they pad out the run time with some absurdly stupid and banal Electronic music.
Biffy have been a favourite of mine for years now, putting out record after record of the least cohesive yet still brilliant Rock i've heard in years. Breakout albums Puzzle and Only Revolutions are still projects that i return to regularly, however it's hard to ignore that even these 3 lads from Scotland are being swept up in the dying craze of putting crappy synths in Rock.
On a positive note tracks like Weird Leisure exist. Songs that have a familiar twisted Cheshire grin on their faces, that show off the technical abilities of the band while maintaining a strong melodic presence and decent hooks. Worst Type of Best Possible is another clear example of this, the outro is absolutely fantastic, breaching on Metal with everyone playing as hard and fast as possible. End Of is another winner, with some of the best bass and drum playing across the album, there's even a bridge that ends up sounding very Tool-esque.
The record closes on a pretty strong note as well, Cop Syrup, at over 6 minutes long, uses this extended run-time to its fullest, building up layers of instruments to a great crescendo. The more visceral moments at the beginning and the end are also very well done.
The Pink Limit is an interesting track that uses numerous odd sounds and ideas that are all performed very well, until the chorus. The weird scratches, the odd rhythms and peculiar melodies are all intriguing, but the chorus nearly wastes that by being utterly generic. Opaque is the better of the 2 ballads here, but that isn't saying too much. The chords are a little bog-standard, and the song structure, building up to a climax, is obvious, but at least it's performed well enough for a pass.
On a less positive note we get Tiny Indoor Fireworks that is just too generic for its own good, the little Biffy-isms that make the group's work so unique and interesting are almost entirely missing and instead the space is filled with an egregious number of "Woah"s and "Hey"s. Space represents another side that i'm not particularly enamoured with, the extra cheesy love song. While it isn't the weakest cut here musically, it's not the strongest either, my real issue come with the lyrics which are extremely boring:
"Will you wait, will you wait for me?
There's always a space in my heart
I'm still caught in your gravity
No matter the distance between us"
Instant History is likely the worst song here. It falls for the same issues that Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boy and 30 Seconds to Mars all made on recent albums. The Rock section is produced so poorly it sounds like it has indigestion and the Electronic part is just so boring that most anyone with a laptop could do better.
In a similar vein to their last proper studio album, Ellipsis, Biffy offer just enough for the die hard fans to come back to, but with each new project i'm getting more and more tired with what they're making. At this point it feels like i'm only still listening to their new stuff out of some misplaced sense of loyalty.
I do hope Biffy Clyro realise that they're not going to get another hit single again and use that to make an album that is entirely theirs, with no feeling of mainstream obligation.
Favourites: North of No South, Weird Leisure, Worst Type of Best Possible, End Of, Cop Syrup
Least Favs: Tiny Indoor Fireworks, Instant History