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Biffy Clyro – A Celebration of Endings

Being in the game for nearly twenty years, Biffy Clyro have carved out a space for themselves as stalwarts on indie radio playlists and festival billings over the years, having the longevity that most modern bands could only dream of. Originally scheduled for release in May but one of the many albums inevitably pushed back due to coronavirus, fans of the band no longer have to wait.

A Celebration of Endings is the eighth studio album by the Scottish trio. ‘Weird Leisure,’ a strong and stomping track, juxtaposes thrashing guitars with twinkling percussion and thumping bass grooves. ‘Worst Type of Best Possible’ is filled with hammering basslines and metal-inspired guitar riffs. Closest of all to the rawer and unfiltered Biffy is ‘End Of,’ a post-punk inspired song.

A couple of the songs fall into the trap of being safe, in particular dance rock lead single ‘Instant History’ and ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’ which is by far closest track on the album to a straightforward and upbeat pop song, ready for a jumping festival crowd with the obligatory “woah-woahs” and “hey, hey, heys”. The album is more adventurous than previous release Ellipsis but missing the raw, unfiltered charm from early releases Infinity Land and Puzzles or the mainstream appeal of radio friendly pop-rock singles which filled 2010’s Only Revolutions.

‘Space’ is a softer ballad type track, which nicely breaks up the clattering guitars and is referred to by the band as their very own “Disney tune”. ‘Opaque,’ a stripped back acoustic number, is another which falls into this endearing bracket.Lyrically, the album is all about embracing change and searching for the truth. On album opener ‘North of No South’ Neil sings, “I poke at my eyes just to prove they’re no longer worthless. You stick around just to blame it on someone else/ You had a choice, and you chose to believe it.” These are the words of someone who’s lived long enough to see the hard realities in life and is exasperated by its lies. Piano driven crooner ‘The Champ’ is a clear song about sticking it to the man, “Don’t give me that bullshit catchphrase “‘it was better in my day’”, exploring themes of youth, championing younger people actively looking for change.

The album’s highest point comes with ‘Cop Syrup,’ a song of two sides and a strong closer, bookended with intense and hammering guitar riffs. The track is an amalgamation of furious punk and melodic string arrangements, “Fuck everybody/ fuck everybody” screams Simon Neil over and over, embodying the lyrical motifs of the album perfectly.

A Celebration of Endings walks a tightrope of loud and quiet, sanitised modern alt-rock and brazen guitar thrashing. Appealing to each side but never fully committing to either.