Real Time Reviews: Biffy Clyro – Opposites

The Realtime Music

Time for the first ever Real Time Music Review.

The idea is simple. I have the length of the album to form an opinion, spew out my thoughts onto this here blog. No rewinding to hear if the breakdown at the end of the chorus was really as crisp as it could have been or if the narrative of the oboe solo in the middle section really fitted with the overall juxtaposition of the song against the backdrop of 1920’s Yugoslavia on which it is based.

Listen to the tunes. Write an Opinion. Job’s a good’un.


First up a band who, as they are Scottish, I can only assume took all their inspiration from The Proclaimers on the road to rock and roll stardom, Biffy Clyro. A band who so far have seemed to remain immune to the ‘I-was-there-at-their-first-gig-but-now-they-have-sold-out-and-are-shit’ brigade’. Let’s drop those beats!

Biffy love a good slow build on the first album track and ‘Different People’ stays true to form. Two minutes in and the energy is ramped up quicker than Sheldon Cooper in a Flash costume. This is a perfectly pleasant wee romp of a tune, it definitely feels like the starter to a big fat main course that will be served medium rare dripping in Blue Cheese sauce. Speaking of dripping here comes the opening lyrics of the first single from the album ‘Black Chandelier’, because of this I still expect this song to turn into a tune about plumbing, saying that the image of a cute little cup of cyanide is one that I find as suitably macabre as it is sweet. Third chorus round I’m officially giving it ‘Yaldi’ in my living room, this song is why Biffy are great, no sure at the start but at the end your calling it an anthem.

It’s jaggy sounding guitar time, another Biffy staple, with ‘Sounds Like Balloons’ but whoooooooshhhh, given the lyrics its fitting to say that chorus comes over the top of you like a tidal wave. 1.34 into Song 3 is the first F-Bomb of the album for those of the burn your bra persuasion. I’m having trouble focusing on writing as my left thigh, couch and living room table have turned into a full drum kit. The imagery is top-notch here to the point I am standing on a beach looking onto an infinite horizon.

OK this song is called ‘Opposite’ not ‘Opposites’ does that mean it can be called the title track, are you allowed to pluralise title tracks. I find it best not to concentrate too much on grammar as that is usually an invitation to mass pedantry as people point out every error you have made in your writing. The fact I am going on a rant about grammatical pedantry should probably make you realise that ‘Opposites’ is pleasant if not particularly noteworthy.

I have just checked the name of this song, apparently its ‘The Joke’s On Us’, if I was guessing I though it would be Juggermaut, this is another pleasant wee ditty, I cannot help but feel we have hit the mid-album slump of perfectly functional tunes and lyrics without any real drive or focus to get to the end, if I was at a gig I’d maybe go visit the wee laddies room when this when it came on. Speaking of tolilet activities, what is the deal with throwing cups of piss at gigs, are these individuals sexually frustrated at their partners lack of willing to accept a golden shower. Moving on!

My lack of knowledge of the brass section within a orchaestra means I’m going to start with a guess at a ‘trumpet’ intro to ‘Spanish Radio’, this isn’t really a foot stomper either but I’m finding it far more jaunty number, I think the yet-to-be-confirmed trumpet has sucked me in here, plus I’ve looked outside and its rather sunny. I don’t think this song would be half as good if it was raining. Hang on, business has just picked up, this has turned into a contender with that last 30 seconds of wind your window down and shout it out car noise. Please more trumpets!

‘Victory Over The Sun’ starts as the kind of song you would listen to in the dark, earphones in, eyes closed, lying on your bed…..and then it makes you SHIT the bed! It’s not a megadeath moshpit change in tempo but its enough to make you sit up and check for a damp brown patch.

Now with a name like ‘Biblical’ this should either sound like a Gregorian chant or be suitably epic, halfway through its definitely not one for the monks but is it epic? It’s trying so hard, its like when Jim Carrey is trying to get out the end of a robotic rhinoceros in Ace Ventura:When Nature Calls in that it is a big noise trying to come out too small a space. I think if my speakers where hooked up to a monster truck attatched to a sub-woofer this would be epic but at the moment it’s just rather good.

‘Stingin’ Belle’ is a cracking name for a song, imagery is rife in my head just now, temporarily forgot what I was doing there. This is good, nice lyircs, singable chorus, oh hang on……’MARKING THE F*** OUT’ BAGPIPES! BAGPIPES! A bagpipe breakdown, is a musical orgasm to your soul it’s turned this into a half lyrical/half instrumenal ditty now. Putting aside the marking out for Bagpipes I like this.

I’m back on my bed, lying in the dark. In fact this is the kind of song you would expect to hear at the end of an episode of The Killing when they discover a hand smeared in Lurpak in a birthing pool, you know, if they didn’t already have that set playlist they have had since series one. ‘Skylight’ as this song shall be named is the kind of song I would happily listen to over and over again. It’s calm it has a nice change of tempo breakdown with a clarity of sound that sometimes get lost in a Biffy song.

Somebody has given Muse a Scottish accent and let them hi-jack this album, oh no, sorry its back to being Biffy again, I’m now ten songs in and it’s quite clear Biffy have a formula, it’s the same one they have always had, it works, I mean this is great but to quote directly from ‘Trumpet or Tap’, it sometimes leads to a ‘shrug of the shoulders’. It’s like eating a bag of Haribo in one go, feels great at the time but an hour later you can’t remember why it was so great but you know that you want to do it again and again. This album is starting to feel like that bag of Haribo. I can see me getting carried away with this Haribo metaphor but ‘Modern Magic Formula’ is more of the same of anything I haven’t heard before, slow build, jaggy strings, small acoustic section, and back into frenzy.

Kids and Grown Ups Love It So!

Kids and Grown Ups Love It So!

I’m really liking this album but as I listen to ‘The Thaw’ I find myself going is it done yet. It’s just nice, if I’m using the word nice to describe a Biffy song we may have a problem with album length here, saying that here comes the last song, ‘Picture a Knife Fight’, so maybe this has been timed just right. I am already predicting a descent at the end of this song to match the crescendo at the start of this album. Hero call right there. Seem to be back on form here but my judgement could be clouded in anticipation of whatever descent down the musical mountain they are about to take me on….erm right that wasn’t quite as epic as I hoped, think that ‘Stingin’ Belle’ would have been better placed here.

Well that’s it over! There will be no score rating instead the following criteria will be applicable to all ‘Real Time Reviews’

Rewind & Repeat: Black Chandelier, Stingin’ Belle, Skylight, Sounds like Balloons

Skip that Beat: The Joke’s on Us, The Thaw, Opposites

Overall Verdict: Like a bag of Haribo with a blunt Razor in it. Enjoyable to consume but in the main lacking any real edge. Saying that you would still wind your windows down and sing your heart out all the way through.