Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

Biffy Clyro: Ellipsis

biffy clyroBiffy Clyro
(14th Floor Records)

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“We have achieved so much more than you possibly thought we could,” Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil croons on “Wolves of Winter.” As far as opening tracks go, this is particularly insightful. The delightfully strange, often shirtless Scottish trio has gone from having a small but loyal following to establishing an international audience. Now on their seventh LP, it’s clear the band knows what it’s doing.

Whereas 2013’s Opposites was an ambitious double album, Ellipsis clocks in at under forty minutes. Quite a few of the songs feature the in-your-face rock and shouting that was predominant on Biffy’s early records. “Animal Style” and “Howl” both deal with instability and feeling primal, while “Flammable” has a weird, funky guitar riff that gives way to a rallying chorus.

While most of this record is guitar rock, a few songs retreat from that pattern. The acoustic “Medicine” delves into drug use and the guilt of disappointing a partner toward the end of a relationship. “Small Wishes” has a jaunty beat that sounds nearly country, which is a rewarding risk for a band that has little concern for playing it safe. Though the closing track “People” sounds beautiful, the lyrics undercut the dwell of the instrumentation. Neil grapples with this fear of being an unworthy lover and restless spirit for nearly a dozen songs, but in the end, he chooses to be vulnerable and flawed rather than polished and inauthentic. It’s this spirit that makes Ellipsis one of the best albums released so far in 2016.

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Biffy Clyro: Ellipsis