Pompous? Over blown? Over produced? Contrived? Unneccessarily self indulgent? Over the top?
Well yes. Of course it is. But before we get into the new Biffy Clyro album why don’t we remind ourselves about music which embraces all these things, perhaps not music that we all necessarily listen to but music that has a massive place in the history and development of the art form. Lets think classical artists such as Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Vivaldi, Bach…………………..pompous, overblown, unneccessarily self indulgent, over the top…..yes, all these things, right? And yet, we love classical symphonies. We embrace them. Classical music is an important part of our musical history and heritage.
Within the world of Pop/Rock we had Queen. The masters of over the top, over produced, over indulgent, pompous pop/rock music. And one of the biggest selling artists of all time. And most recently there’s Muse. Another group all for self indulgent, over blown rock music and one of the biggest rock bands on the planet today. I actually heard a great comment about the new Muse album on Glasgow Podcart. Ally commented, when asked what the new album was like, that “this time they had disappeared up God’s arse”. It made me laugh so much! And it’s kind of true. But ultimately, who really cares? Surely we all have a place in our heart for music which indulges itself a little too much??? I know I certainly do. For me, what Muse do is something that nobody else is perhaps brave enough to. It’s a very dangerous thing to try and it’s probably lost them a lot of fans, but made them even more. Me personally, I don’t adore Muse. But I do admire them.
I was raised on classical music though, so perhaps there’s a natural draw to music that is a little theatrical? I don’t know. Sufjan Stevens music can be a bit theatrical. But I love it for that very reason. And I really like Biffy Clyro for the same reason and I really, really like their new album ‘Only Revolutions’.
I got slagged off for this liking of Biffy Clyro on my last post ‘Keep The Faith’. How could I possibly like Biffy? I believe the words were, “sub-Muse contrived balls”. Well I have to say, yes I hear moments of Muse. But not really to a great extent and that comment really harks back to a previous post about lazy comparisons now doesn’t it? The only comparison I can really make between Muse and Biffy is that they both started life with an edgy raw sound before succumbing to a more polished, over blown sound, around about the time when they started dealing with major labels and producers. Their early albums had edge and grit. Their latest albums are polished and extremely radio friendly. But so what?
Listen, ‘Only Revolutions’ is undeniably over the top, but it is also packed with some gorgeous riffs, hooks and melodies as well as retaining a large chunk of the grittiness, which helped build Biffy’s massive and diehard fanbase. I’m sure the diehard fans will have more than a few issues with the over all polishedness of this record but they’d have more of an issue with comments like “sub-Muse pish” i’m sure. Personally, I think this record is a massive step forward from their last album ‘Puzzle’, which for me didn’t deliver a whole package of good songs. Only Revolutions does just this. There are standout tracks for sure but the overall feel for me is that I want to listen to this record over and over without really having songs I want to skip. Puzzle failed on that front in my eyes. This record delivers and is really, really enjoyable.
Does this record set my world on fire? No. Is it over the top? Yes. But underneath the flamboyance and layers and layers of strings are some really cracking pop/rock songs. If you can embrace the pomp then you really will enjoy this record. Sure it’s big but it’s still got the edge that it needs. If you focus too much on the grandeur then you won’t enjoy this. I hope people can forgive a little self indulgence on this record because I genuinely believe the songs are quality and deserve to be heard. You can check Biffy out here. Enjoy
TSP Grade = B