A Celebration of Endings
14th Floor Recordings
By the time a band gets around to releasing its ninth album, the audience would likely expect to have a strong idea of what’s to come. With Biffy Clyro however, things are rather different. ‘A Celebration of Endings’ truly lives up to its name; the record is positive and filled with hope, though it truly feels as if the band are moving on to a new, more expansive sound.
As a fan of the band myself, I must confess the majority of the singles which were released leading up to the album left me a little underwhelmed and frankly worried for the record. Though, upon first listening to ‘A Celebration of Endings’ in full, I was relieved to find it’s a widely varied and experimental experience.
At times this album is a riff-heavy ode to Biffy Clyro’s earlier work, while at other points it takes their sound to refreshing places it’s never been before. The Scottish rockers actually find their greatest success when they let their song writing take centre stage though, rather than simply trying to create the largest wall of sound they possibly can.
North Of No South is the opening track on the record and it instantly dismays any suggestions that the band have gone too pop-orientated or have lost their way. It’s unusual in terms of the instrumentation’s timing and sports some fantastically strange backing vocals. The energy brought from the guitars and drums screams classic Biffy Clyro and everything fans have come to love about the band, but with a new twist.
This new glimmer continues from this point on too. The Champ is a song with a point to prove. Frontman Simon Neil sings “Don’t give me that bullshit catchphrase: it was better in my day”. The band constantly evoke that they’re done with the old way of doing things and they want a change; this is certainly reflected in their musical output this time around.
Space is a tender love song, packed with anthemic features, which shows off the softer sounding side of the group. In the song Simon Neil asks the question, “Will you wait for me?” and proclaims, “There’s always a space in my heart for you”. It just wouldn’t be a Biffy Clyro album without a heartfelt acoustic number that pulls on the heartstrings.
The Pink Limit has scattering guitar lines and rhythmic drums that add a rocking edge to the album, though the most impressive part of this song is something that pops up throughout the entire record: the harmonising backing vocals which couple with Neil’s singing add a unique burst of energy to A Celebration of Endings.
It’d be wrong of me not to mention that the ending of almost every song on the record is absolutely epic. Much like we’ve seen in the past from Biffy Clyro with the likes of Bubbles, the epic closing acts of many of the songs on this album are simply sensational.
Opaque is a passion-filled rock ballad which sees Simon Neil wishing someone had followed through with their feelings, rather than walking away. Musically and lyrically, this is certainly one of the standout moments on the record. The use of strings on the song go a long way to adding to the overall sentiment of Opaque, as Neil sings, “This is how you chose to break away”.
A Celebration of Endings is an album that shows off everything Biffy Clyro are all about. The album journeys from the most affectionate points of the band’s song writing, all the way to the loudest and brashest they could ever be on closing track Cop Syrup. This ninth studio album from the Scottish rock legends only further proves Biffy Clyro to be one of the worlds’ most consistent guitar acts, who continue to find a way to advance their skills and keep their unique spark alight.
Listen to North of No South here:
All words by Jared Musson, find his website here.