Biffy Clyro, A Celebration Of Endings
Biffy aren’t your average rock band – the Scottish trio are never ones to remain still for long. Constantly pushing their limits, Biffy Clyro morph with the times, doing all they can to enhance and challenge themselves with each passing album. Take 2019 album Balance, Not Symmetry, for example – not only a mesmerising album, but one that ambitiously doubled as a powerful film soundtrack. The project clearly awoke a beast within them, and their latest album is proof of that; A Celebration of Endings presents a band unshakably confident in their own sound, and determined not to stagnate. The instrumentals speak just as loudly as the lyrics on this album, and its a testament to how far Biffy have come as a band. Bold, grand and densely layered, A Celebration of Endings is proof that, even nine albums in, an old band can most certainly learn new tricks.
As soon as the album starts, you can’t help but crack a smile – hell yeah, THIS is Biffy. There’s something so unique about Biffy Clyro’s instrumental style; From North Of No South’s gently strummed introductory chords to the eventual pounding of drums, there’s no mistaking who you’re listening to. Neil’s iconic voice only hammers the certainty down, his signature Scottish charm dominating the track.
However, A Celebration of Endings also challenges this understanding of what one would assume to be ‘Biffy’s sound’. The Champ, for example, introduces a magical, orchestral string section, before weaving it masterfully within their typical alt-rock soundscape – and the result is gorgeous. The layering and use of contrasting dynamics on this album is no joke, resulting in a truly mesmerising listening experience.
Perhaps the most satisfying use of contrasting dynamics and soundscapes on the album is evident on Space and End Of. The pair of tracks are the epitome of this album’s thoughtful production; Space presents a grand, classical and enchanting soundscape, Neil’s gentle vocals musing ‘will you wait, will you wait for me?’ – before End Of prowls into your life, tensely growing before heavy, angry drums BURST through your speakers. End Of quickly cuts off the calmness, Neil singing ‘THIS is not a love song – THAT was just a phase…’ before knocking out one of the most spiteful, biting vocal performances of the album. The raw screams of ‘I would have fucking DIED for you’ are brilliantly complimented by darkly energetic guitars and drums, truly setting it apart from the previous track’s naive sentimentality. It’s proof of how these guys can do it all: you want a love song? Sure. You want a bitter break-up anthem? You got it.
Of course, there are also some tracks that would have been PERFECT for festivals this Summer (we’ll simply have to wait to see Biffy at Download 2021… sigh). Weird Leisure is an obvious single choice, with an anticipatory, steady beat leading into its stupidly fun chorus – ‘YOU’RE BURSTING INTO PIE-CES!!’. Tiny Indoor Fireworks’ bright sound also screams FESTIVAL, with it’s delightful sing-along chorus of ‘I fire it up then blow it out… and I’ll pray for the better days!!’ – it feels like a tiny firework within yourself, absolutely brimming with joy and hope. While tracks like The Pink Limit have a sturdy backbone of solid drumming, driving the track along irresistibly – and don’t even get us STARTED on Cop Syrup, with it’s raucous drumming, punk bravado and sprinkling of metal-esque vocal delivery. It’s guaranteed to be absolute chaos live… simply listening to it feels torturously taunting.
A Celebration of Endings is the most mature album Biffy Clyro have released thus far; it’s slick, it’s sharp, and it’s dazzlingly structured. We always find that a Biffy album shines brightest when hard live, however… while the band streamed a live performance, we’re gagging to hear it in the flesh to allow it to reach its fullest potential. Now we just wait…… as difficult as that may be..!
A Celebration Of Endings is out now – grab yourself a copy here.