Album review: Biffy Clyro, Opposites (14th Floor)


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The Independent Culture

There's a scene in Grandma's House in which Simon Amstell is informed by Clive, his ghastly father-in-law to be, "I tell you who's a great band: Biffy Clyro. Down-to-earth guys and grrreat tunes." The Kilmarnock trio won't have too much trouble living down that implied insult, their likely audience crossover with smart Jewish sitcoms being minimal.

The sixth Biffy Clyro album, and the first since X Factor winner Matt Cardle took one of their songs to No 1, sees them fairly well established in the arena rock market. On Opposites, a 20-song double, they play it safe by sticking to what's got them there: windswept Scot-rock with airbrushed pseudo-emo guitars. Del Amitri with louder amps, essentially.

Most of disc one consists of ponderous, blustering nonsense, with a black chandelier used as a metaphor for depression. Disc two shows more promise: opener "Stingin' Belle" rocks like early Seventies Quo, and brings in a bagpipe section à la AC/DC. But after "Trumpet or Tap", with its wannabe-edgy lines about whores and the clap, the side plays out with more mainstream mush.

If this was the Eighties, Biffy Clyro would be standing on a clifftop in their videos. And if there was a god, he'd send a sudden gust.