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Album Review: Biffy Clyro ‘Ellipsis’


Biffy Clyro have been around for quite some time, longer than some of their most faithful fans, and played festivals around the world including UK’s Isle Of Wight and our own Soundwave (RIP). After seven studio releases the Scottish rockers have released their latest album, blending together the best bits of their own style of punk, hard, and indie rock. ‘Ellipsis’ is following up from their 2013 #1 UK album ’Opposites’, continuing the overall body of work Biffy Clyro has stood for since their debut effort ‘Blackened Sky’ in 2002.

‘Ellipsis’ opens with Wolves of Winter, featuring massive drum hits and heavy guitar riffs to once again remind you of their unique mix of genres. You wouldn’t be able to tell these rockers come from Scotland upon your first listen as Simon Neil (vocals/guitars) sings with an American twang. Friends and Enemies follows up, bringing in tight backing vocal hooks that flesh out Neil’s lead runs. Guitar takes transition between heavy distorted power chords to indie-rock inspired riffs. The band dial it back briefly, bringing in a children’s choir to add some interesting weight to the existing sounds.

“Biffy Clyro’s latest effort proves they still can create and deliver something unique, and quite diverse, 21 years into their incredible career.”

Re-arrange strips back the heavy guitars in place for a gentler sound. “I wrote one-hundred songs to make sense of the meaningless” sings Neil to the backing of ambient synthesisers and gentle pianos.  A thumping bass drum ties the track together with the rest of the album, creating a foot tapping vibe for the song. Tight songwriting gives this track a foot up from the others, showing Biffy Clyro can create great hard rock and soft pop tracks.

The band bring back the distorted guitars like a slap in the face with Herex. With some serious Green Day vibes, the track is one of many different styles that the album takes. The song flows between quiet low points and full choruses, all overlaid with synths and guitar soundscapes. On a Bang sees the trio take on a short and fast song, bringing along with it pop punk vibes filled with aggressively delivered vocals. The guitar and bass work together well in this track, keeping to a safe formula of basic chords to simplify the mix.

Howl once again shows the band creating a less aggressive track by keeping the guitars quiet and the drum beats simple. James Johnston’s bass work almost takes centre stage, reaching a similar tone of fellow brit-rockers The Wombats. The fast-paced track highlights the unity of the band and how each member supports and builds off their sound collectively.

Closing with People, Biffy Clyro channel similar vibes to that found on Re-arrange, kicking off the song with an acoustic guitar before it’s joined by gentle piano and an ambient synthesiser. The quieter feel of People creates a split dynamic for the album, as on one hand you’ve got hard hitting tracks that have the instruments take to the front of the mix. However, on the other hand there are quieter tracks where more careful songwriting cuts through, allowing the album to convey a multitude of emotions.

Overall, Biffy Clyro’s latest effort proves they still can create and deliver something unique, and quite diverse, 21 years into their incredible career.

Album Rating: 4