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War at home: The local eco-warriors making a big noise

Shivering atop a power-station chimney certainly makes a dramatic eco statement. But is direct action the best way to combat global warming? Robin Barton meets the climate-change campaigners who like 'big and bold' and the green communities who prefer 'slow and steady'

The white stuff: If you're fed up with winter then seek out the

I picked the first snowdrops from our garden on Boxing Day, which, though cold, was not snowy. I was so buoyed up by the flowers sitting on the kitchen table, with ivy leaves and catkins, I set out on a mammoth walk, which kept me outside from nine until four, when the light was just beginning to drift out of our valley. There was a vague thought in the back of my mind that I might find more snowdrops in the woods around us. There weren't any then, but it didn't matter. They've caught up now.

Album: Biffy Clyro, Only Revolutions (14th Floor)

The progress of Ayrshire prog-metal trio Biffy Clyro demonstrates again that, outside of the short-term imperatives of Cowellised talent-show pop, the best way for a proper rock band to develop is through faith and persistence, rather than coaching and consultancy. Together since 1995, they've persevered through years of solo gigs and well-chosen support slots, building up a solid fanbase which finally expanded to chart-bothering proportions in 2007 with their fourth album Puzzle. It's an object lesson in self-determination akin to the success of Muse, with whom they share an affection for pungent riffs and quirky lyrical themes. Biffy Clyro favour the kind of abstruse non sequiturs that leave one scratching one's head. But the drift is clear: Only Revolutions is packed with violent imagery – lots of hits, bruises, shots, burns and blood, and even a track titled "Booooom, Blast & Ruin". Elsewhere, big metaphors – God and Satan, mountains and oceans - abound, decked out in suitably grandiose, constantly gear-changing pomp-metal riffs, fattened in some case with fanfaring horns or underscored with strings. The exception is the oddly-titled "Many Of Horror", an understated love song and obvious single-in-waiting; but the standout track is surely "Bubbles", to which a guesting Josh Homme brings a touch of Queens Of The Stone Age.