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Stellar album from a great Scottish band!
Only Revolutions - Biffy Clyro
Member Name: Renza_e
Only Revolutions - Biffy Clyro
Date: 21/01/11, updated on 03/02/11 (59 review reads)
Advantages: Smashing songwriting, great vocals from Neil Simon, songs with great melodic hooks.
Disadvantages: No doubt some original fans will view them as turning their back on their metal roots...
There's a band out there who sing with a Scottish accent but I'm not talking about the Proclaimers. For a start, their lead singer, Simon Neil, I'd say, was a wee bitty more attractive than the speccy twins of the Proclaimers (no offence to the boys). However, I'd like to think that Biffy Clyro, although not mainstream pop, may be on their way to gaining a cosy place as a beloved national treasure in Scotland, just like the Proclaimers. There's already a lot of support for this band with fans lovingly shouting 'Mon the Biffy!' at their gigs. Fact is, Biffy Clyro have been on the rise. In 2010, they were announced as a headlining act for Sonisphere 2011, their song 'Many of Horror' was chosen for the Xfactor winner (much to my surprise) and they were still riding high on the 2009 release of this smashing album 'Only Revolutions', an album which managed to top 'Puzzle', another album of theirs which I adore.
I really wanted to slap Louis Walsh of the Xfactor last year. I caught a bit of the final and he referred to Biffy's song 'Many of Horrors' as a great contemporary pop song. Louis, learn your genres! However, he's right about one thing, it is a great song and there are a whole host of excellent songs on 'Only Revolutions'. These include...
*~Many of Horrors~*
I must admit I was a bit shocked when I heard they'd chosen this for one of the finalists songs on Xfactor, of all places. I don't really value the Xfactor judges knowledge of rock music very high. A few years ago Simon Cowell didn't even seem to know who Bullet for My Valentine were even though they have been rather prominent in the British rock scene for a while now. However, he did have to deal with a stroppy, talentless vocal therapist upon this occasion. Anyhow, back to the song in discussion. As much as I do enjoy Matt Cardles voice I do feel like Biffy Clyro were a bit cheated when he grabbed the Christmas number one in typical 'Simon-Cowell-rules-the-music-biz-fashion'. You really can't beat the original, the intensity and rough edges of Simon Neil's voice. It does feel like Matt Cardle has sanitized the song in a way, smoothed it out so it sounds like another pop recording. A bit depressing if you ask me. I urge anyone to get themselves a copy of Biffy's original.
This song is the first track on the album and I consider this to be a very wise choice as it gives the album an explosive start. It definitely seems like the band understand how powerful this one is as an opener and it was the opening song for their Hogmanay gig in Edinburgh too. It's a song that's got a great energy - it's very uplifting.
'Mountains' was the first Biffy song that I heard way back in 2008. I took to it instantly and I had it stuck in my head for a while (Quietly singing under your breath 'I am a mountain, I am the sea' is a bit bizarre for any passerby). It's got a great beat and a catchy chorus. Why I didn't then continue to find myself more Biffy tracks to listen to until 2010 was quite frankly idiotic.
I'm convinced that Neil Simon sounds very Scottish in this song, a true Kilmarnock man. I'm also convinced that this song is brilliant - a real head-bopping anthem of a track that shows the band at their best. It is also another crowd pleaser as their Hogmanay gig proved. I think almost everyone around me was singing along to this one. Love it!
I have already spoken about 'Whorses' in my last review of 2010. It was a song that Biffy Clyro announced at the Hogmanay gig in Edinburgh as 'the last song you'll hear in 2010'. For me, it has a very reflective quality about it. In a way, it sort of set me up emotionally for 2011. It is both beautiful and uplifting and allowed me to feel very forward-thinking for the year ahead.
*~God & Satan~*
'I talk to God as much as I talk to Satan because I want to hear both sides'. I love this first line. 'God & Satan' is a song which begins with acoustic guitars and builds up into something bigger. It is a slower, more steady song on the album but has some very interesting perplexing lyrics.
*~Born on a Horse~*
I adore this song because it has a certain charm to it. I love how it opens up with the lyrics: 'I pronounce it Aluminium, because there's a 'I' next to the 'u' and 'm''. It sounds like they are giving an American a stern elocution lesson there (Learn to pronounce your words you Yankees). I do enjoy this song. I love the continuous 'groove' of the guitar throughout the majority of the track and I love the insanity of its lyrics. Lyrics that, I assume, may make perfect sense to the band but go completely over my head (Again, I must emphasise that I am not a great lyrics analyst).
For me, the above tracks are the definite highlights of the album but that does not mean that I would rubbish the tracks that I have not mentioned. 'That Golden Rule', 'Shock Shock', 'Booooom, Blast and Ruin', 'Cloud of Stink' and 'Know your Quarry' are great stand alone tracks but not quite as magnificent, in my opinion as the tracks that I have reviewed.
All in all, 'Only Revolutions' is a stellar album from one of the best Scottish musical acts that are around. It contains great songwriting (with smashing melodic hooks), great musicianship, the sexy Scottish vocals of a Mr Simon Neil and admittedly mind-boggling lyrics. It is a rock album that should not be missed!
*~Thank you very much for taking your time to read my review :-) x~*
*~Also published on Ciao ~ January 2011~*
Summary: A great rock album not to be missed!