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Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis

Jack Spivey reviews Ellipsis, the latest album from Biffy Clyro.

Opening on ‘Wolves of Winter’ with a disbelieving cackle from Simon Neil and the question “Record this?!” gives the first suggestion that Ellipsis could well be something quite different from what Biffy have done before. The hint is correct: the Scottish four-piece have gone real heavy on the production side of things, and there are certain riffs that feel very indie-influenced on their seventh album.
‘Friends And Enemies’ wastes no time in exhibiting this newfound indie side; in fact, before the interjection of Neil’s vocals, the song could quite easily be a radio-friendly indie/dance track, with dampened drums and sampled hand claps nodding to the more commercial side of house music. Then you head right over to the opposite end of the spectrum and ‘Herex’ pays tribute to the band’s prog-rock past (one for the old school Biffy supporters).
As has become something of a signature for them, they’ve not overlooked the acoustic ballads, with ‘Re-arrange’ and ‘Medicine’ showcasing the frontman’s hair-raising vocals brilliantly. It also probably wouldn’t be a true Biffy Clyro album without something completely unexpected – which they achieve with ‘Small Wishes’, a folk-tinged track with clashing notes that again harks back to their early years.
Reviews haven’t all been positive, but the general consensus seems to be that a different Biffy is a bad Biffy. Play it straight after any track released circa-2007 and you’d probably not believe that it’s the same band, were it not for Neil’s distinctive vocals. But it’s a grower – if you weren’t convinced first time around, give it another go!
JS 9/10




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