BIFFY CLYRO – ‘Opposites’

biffyclyroBIFFY CLYRO – ‘Opposites’
A double album is always a risky strategy for any band these days; particularly when full album play through is a lost art, with singles, playlists and shuffle the order of most music consumption.  So to retain interest from start to finish the release needs to be tightly packed with killer cuts that compel the listener not to skip or stop; coercing a frequent return to absorb it as intended by its creators.  When you consider previous doubles considered classics – ‘Mellon Collie…’, ‘The Fragile’, ‘The White Album’ or ‘Blonde On Blonde’, Biffy have a tall order on their hands here.  Couple that with the fact these boys have almost completely changed direction from their earlier more artsy and angsty embodiments, some still screaming “sell outs!!”, although nowhere near the aforementioned Simon Neil and co might just have pulled another rabbit from a hat with Opposites.  As with Puzzle and Only Revolutions the choruses come thick and fast, the production is overly polished and the musicianship is doused head to toe in synth and strings; losing any sense for the guitar led rock that was so prominant on Puzzle, Infinity Land and The Vertigo Of Bliss.  It reminds us a little of how the Manic Street Preachers went from the fantastic guitar-punk snarl of The Holly Bible to the toned down and overtly ‘soft’ If You Tolerate This…Lifeblood and Postcards From A Young Man.  It’s hard to listen to anything so lacking the bite and edge that had us hailing earlier works as classics, making everything else just so straight forward and prosaic.  That’s not to say Opposites isn’t an achievement, it is.  With the deluxe version at over 20 tracks long, there are some seriously strong cuts on offer and all in all it makes for ‘comfortable and easy’ rock listening; no real surprises or experimentations to push their mainstream comfort zone.  Still, it will shift by the ship-load, no doubt birth multiple singles and stay at the top of the charts for months.  A success then?  Well yeh, as expected.  (7)
STEVE FLETCHER

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