Being a long time Biffy Clyro fan, I must say I was initially disappointed with the previous album Puzzle. I thought it was just a bit too ‘wimpy’ compared to the previous three records. Puzzle has grown on me over time, although with Only Revolutions I enjoyed it from the start. It seems to follow Puzzle‘s more acceptable airplay friendly formula, but with a decent twist of the old thrown in for good measure.
Opening with second single “The Captain”, it has a catchier pop rock opener that leads you to thinking everything’s going to be a bit of fun, though personally I don’t feel it’s a very good opening. I feel previous single “That Golden Rule” should be start the album. Fast, more in your face, and holding a great traditional Biffy outro; this should have been track 1. It would have fit very nicely with previous album openers “Living Is A Problem” and “Glitter And Trauma”.
On to “Bubbles”, which feels like a tamer “That Golden Rule”, then the first quiet track of the album, “God & Satan”. I like the lyrics in this one as it deals with listening to both sides and making informed choices. “Born On A Horse” on the other hand seems like a very funny American-bashing track. Lines like “I pronounce it al-u-min-i-um” and “I’ve never had a lover whose a sister or a brother” seem to poke a bit of fun at the States (or maybe that’s just my interpretation!)
“Mountains” (another previous single) is one of my favourite tracks with some great singalong moments. The album then drops a little with reasonable but hardly memorable tracks “Shock Shock” and slower number “Many of Horror”, which is reminiscient of “Folding Stars” from the last album. Then comes “Booooom, Blast & Ruin”, which is back on the pace again and similar in feeling to the upbeat single “Saturday Superhouse” (from Puzzle). Next up, with unusual timing and an odd but fitting falsetto chorus is “Cloud of Stink”, which is over in a flash – just as you’re really beginning to enjoying it.
“Know Your Quarry” slows the pace again before closer “Whorses”. The song has a good dynamic of simple verses and a big chorus that should go down well live. The bonus track version of the album also contains an extra “Sky Demon”, which again is entertaining and similar in structure to “Whorses”.
Biffy Clyro are an unusual band at times, with song timings you couldn’t describe as regular and at times some strange lyrics, but they always seem to create great memorable riffs and singable moments that you take with you when you see them live. I recommend seeing Biffy Clyro live as stripped down versions of the more musically complex tracks come across brilliantly on stage and I’m sure you’ll never see a crowd as into their on stage heroes than at a Biffy Clyro gig. One of the few bands I’ve ever seen where the crowd sings along to every single track!
Recommended songs are “Mountains”, “That Golden Rule”, “Bubbles” and “Cloud Of Stink”, although if you’re not a fan and wonder what the fuss is about, then swap “That Golden Rule” and “Cloud Of Stink” with “The Captain” and “Whorses”.
Overall, I’m giving it 4/5 – Strong, better than Puzzle, but not a patch on old school Biffy