8th July 2016 – 14th Floor Records/Warner Bros.
01. Wolves Of Winter
02. Friends And Enemies
03. Animal Style
08. On A Bang
09. Small Wishes
12. Don’t, Won’t Can’t
13. In The Name Of The Wee Man
You can often read a lot into an artist’s intention with a record by what they name it. The title of Biffy Clyro‘s seventh studio album, Ellipsis, hints at intentional omission – and certainly, it reigns in a lot of the ideas the Scots threw into previous album Opposites, mixing in instead the anthemic approach of Only Revolutions. Biffy retain all their quirky influences among the stadium sized choruses and bouncy riffs as well as having the odd ballad in the mix.
Opener and the lead single “Wolves of Winter” brings all these qualities together in one song, setting the mood for the album. Building up with the guitar rhythm and studio banter before the main, Biffy-signature riff kicks in. Simon Neil’s smooth yet punchy melodies are in fine form throughout, and the chorus reprise is no doubt one that will fill arenas, and possibly even stadiums in the coming year, once they begin to tour the material.
“Friends and Enemies“, “Flammable” and “Howl” are also laced with stadium sized hooks, and it’s likely that one or more of them will find themselves as the next singles for the album following the sassy “Animal Style“, which boasts a incredibly bouncy riff and verse.
But it’s not all pep. The trio also utilise a mix of softer styles in songs like the uplifting “Re-arrange” or the acoustic “Medicine” and even a slight country vibe with “Small Wishes” that even features an amusing, yet well captured whistled solo.
Ellipsis‘ production is a particular highlight, capturing the full range of stylistic flourishes within each song, from the stadium anthems to the acoustic ballads and more peculiar experimentation. As usual in recent releases, there are the recurring themes of relationship struggles as well as the seemingly unrelated story telling that gives Biffy Clyro such a distinctive zany foothold in alt rock. Touches of Scottish folk rear their head in ballads such as “Medicine“, where Simon Neil’s signature accent sticks out like a beautiful cliff side by the sea. Lyrically, his ability to shift between seemingly random lyrical lines – lines which have a sense of oddity to them – to the more moving passages is just as strangely convincing as it always has been.
And as always with Biffy Clyro albums, even with their more recent pop-rock leanings, they have a line on quirky songs – “On A Bang” and “In The Name of the Wee Man” both have their own distinct characteristics whilse still being memorable. Mathy riffs and song structures are apparent at various points – the oddly timed chorus in “On A Band” as well as the riff break in “Herex“, which also contains a surprise blast beat in the bridge that is both convincing and amusing all at once.
While many old school fans might say Biffy Clyro have sold out, or that their music is not as interesting as it used to be, there is no doubt that Ellipsis is yet another album from a band who may have widened their target audience, but have not forgotten their humble roots.