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Mr. R. K. Richardson (Kent, England.)

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Only Revolutions
Only Revolutions
Price: £6.13

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A revolution it may be, but Biffy are still there, 26 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Only Revolutions (Audio CD)
It is no secret that a lot of Biffy Clyro's longer-serving fans are disillusioned with the direction the band are taking. A move towards the mainsteam has seen them start to produce more polished, rounded recordings, compared to the heavy, angst-filled grunge that they wrote and performed so explosively on their debut album, 'Blackened Sky'.

Their musical journey has seen them grace aspects of prog, metal, and the brand of pre-emo which Pearl Jam and Weezer accomplished before them. Throughout their career as musicians, Biffy's creativity has to be their most delightful attribute. The time changes and instrumental fills, as well as the majestic and sometimes outrageous lyrics that grace 'Blackened Sky', 'The Vertigo of Bliss' and 'Infinity Land' make for genuinely interesting and thrilling music.

With 'Puzzle' came a sound more suited to, for want of a better word, 'pop'. Biffy had finally hit the mainstream, and to some extent, following the progression of their earlier albums, this was a natural move. 'Puzzle' blended the band's thirst for new ideas and concepts with frontman Simon Neil's grief and apathy following his mother's death, with a smoother sound which the band hadn't looked to release before.

With 'Only Revolutions' comes the band's triumphant proclamation that they have made it big on the rock scene. This album is packed full of massive songs, with huge choruses and heart-felt lyrics. It bleeds power and emotion from start to finish. Almost every song is anthemic in terms of content and quality. As a fan of Biffy's older material as well as their new, this album is just as good as any of the others- it is just different to how they began. And what is wrong with that? After all, there would be no point recording the same music over and over again.

'Only Revolutions' is the finished concoction of Biffy's trademark big choruses and heavy guitar riffs, with orchestral sections for an added dimension on a number of tracks- as used to great effect on 'Living is a problem' and '9/15ths' on 'Puzzle'- and a mainstream accessibility which is hard to pin down. It isn't the absence of irregular time signatures- 'Cloud of Stink' and 'Whorses' provide these in seemless fashion. It isn't the absence of powerful, dirty guitars- an immense instrumental section on 'Bubbles', which features Josh Homme, is testament enough to this, or indeed the thought-provoking lyrics, which are everywhere- 'Many Of Horror', one of the most poignant tracks on the album, being a prime example. Perhaps it is just an awareness that now the band are writing for the fans, rather than the relatioship being the other way round, with the fans being written as a result of the music.

Make no mistake, this is a superb album. A combination of brilliantly written songs, complete with heavy instrumental sections and pieces of melodic and lyrical genius (such as the beautiful 'God And Satan' deomonstrates), this album will appeal to any fan of rock music. The band's famed quirkiness and innovation (the irresistibly eccentric 'Born On A Horse') are there, as are the ingredients of any other memorable rock album.

Practically every song on the album could be a potential single release, such is the strength of each as an individual piece. However, this is perhaps a case of the album's strength being its weakness. It doesn't flow in the same what that 'Puzzle' or 'The Vertigo Of Bliss' does. 'Only Revolutions' is, perhaps, a collection of songs, rather than an album.

That said, it is a collection of exceptionally good songs. Loud, quiet, heavy, soft, love, anger- it is all there. Whether it is the pulsating instrumental breakdown in 'That Golden Rule', or the arms-in-the-air anthem that is 'Mountains', 'Only Revolutions' does fulfil almost every hope and expectation for such an album- except, maybe, the desires of the band's original fans. This is indeed a revolution: and it sure is a good one.

Forget The Night Ahead
Forget The Night Ahead
Price: £9.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget The Night Ahead, 11 April 2010
This review is from: Forget The Night Ahead (Audio CD)
This album was the first I'd heard of The Twilight Sad. They are the supporting act for Biffy Clyro next month when I am seeing them, so I decided to do some research into them. It turns out that this was a very wise decision, for this is definitely an album worth purchasing.

The Twilight Sad would be classed as Alternative Rock, but that is a very bland term which would mislead most people looking into their music. This is indeed an Alternative album, but it isn't for those looking for upbeat indie or summer anthems. As the band's name, and the album title suggests, this isn't happy music. But it is great music.

The band create an array of loud guitar soundscapes that swirl heavily throughout the album; no more so than in the opening track, 'Reflection Of The Television', where the listener is introduced to the first of a vast array of guitar sounds which kicks in in a heavy and disturbing fashion as the singer croons "there's people downstairs". Ably assisted by an unforgiving drumbeat, this instrumental section is a perfect introduction to an album which is crammed full of deep and unnerving sounds- but it is to the band's tribute that these sounds come across in an appealing and almost calming way. It is quite bizarre, at times.

Perhaps the most identifiable with song to fans of the mainstream is 'I Became A Prostitute', an upbeat track with a well defined chorus and a dominating rhythmic guitar lead. It verges on anthemic during the chorus; "You could have had it all, is that what you said?" does it's best to get the listener singing along.

However, despite the occasional inference to the mainstream, one of the ways in which this album does its best to fend off the ordinary is through its dark yet curious lyrics. The main hook in 'I Became A Prostitute', "If I bleed you dry" contains violent and bloody undertones, as does the succeeding line, "You are the bearer of a womb without love". This interest in blood and violence pervades the album, in a way which maintains the sadistic interest of the listener.

No better example of this is 'The Room', which for me is easily one of the stand-out tracks. It is a piano ballad, with a simple recurring beat on the bass drum to keep it moving, which paints a rather beautiful soundscape. The unsettling lyrics, made all the more so by their positionining on top of a calming piano melody, signify what this band is about. "Hide her, don't wake her, we'll hide her, and we'll leave" is an example of the bewildering yet sinister lyrics which take this album from being a good one, to a very good one.

This is not a positive record- sadness and lament pervades it, and this is certainly the case in "Made To Disappear". It is poetic, and tells of hurt and blame; "She said be gentle, be fair, was the fog even there, you're looking at the guilty one", and "I only want some honest fun, I'll always be your honest one". It is another in a succession of fascinating songs.

This album is for those who are interested in their music, rather than for those who want something nice to listen to. This isn't a nice album, and many uneducated music fans would label it as depressing. But it isn't. It is empaphising, and even relaxing in the way it encourages the release of emotion. The vocalist, whose soothing but harsh Scottish accent is perfect for a record of such a nature, works his way through a range of haunting pieces with no joy, but most certainly a lot of satisfaction; and it is exactly the same for the listener.

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