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Biffy Clyro - Puzzle

Biffy Clyro, Puzzle

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SIMON Neil, vocalist and guitarist of Kilmarnock trio Biffy Clyro, says: “We just want to make records that people can listen to in 20 years and think they’re good fucking records. That’s what we want to do; we want to be an important band. And we think we are.”

If that sounds a little self-important, then thankfully they have the music to back it up. Puzzle, their fourth album, is by far their most ambitious release to date. And it rocks!

Having enlisted the help of Hollywood arranger Graeme Revell (Sin City, The Crow), the Biffy boys have ensured the album takes on an epic scope that’s genuinely worthy of that turn.

Former single Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies is a classic case in point, teasing the listeners with a cinematic intro before mixing powerhouse guitars with a stunning baroque choral arrangement and strings by Revell.

It’s gloriously apocalyptic and defies listeners to make easy comparisons with the more straightforward rock of bands such as Foo Fighters – with whom Biffy Clyro do share some sensibilities. But it gets the album off to a flyer.

Another former single Saturday Superhouse (Roger’s Version) unfolds in more simplistic fashion, but continues the adrenaline rush in confident fashion, as does Who’s Got A Match (which employs a rhythm section not unlike Queens of the Stone Age at times).

But then Neil and co slow things down for the reflective As Dust Dances, another of the album’s highlights and a song that capably reflects their versatility. It’s refreshing to find a rock band that’s doesn’t mind mixing up styles, rather than just thrashing out one gargantuan guitar monster after another.

Thereafter, there’s plenty more to enjoy. A Whole Child Ago is packed with endearing hooks and melodies that are certain to appeal to more mainstream sensibilities, The Conversation Is… charts grungier territory and continues to exhilarate, Now I’m Everyone endears with its stop-start rhythms and infectious guitar licks, and Get Fucked Stud is as in yer face and unapologetic as its name suggests.

Then comes the album’s finest heart-on-sleeve moment, the aching Folding Stars, written after the death of Neil’s mother. It’s raw, honest and breathtaking.

Final track Machines draws things to a close in similarly sensitive fashion to ease you into a satisfied state after the grander scope of its earlier numbers.

The result is a complex musical Puzzle that comes together to create an immensely impressive whole. It’s everything rock fans could wish for and sits alongside Linkin Park’s latest as one of the best rock releases of the year so far.

Download picks: Living Is A Problem Becuase Everything Dies, As Dust Dances, A Whole Child Ago, The Conversation Is…, Now I’m Everyone, Folding Stars, Machines

Track listing:

  1. Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies
  2. Saturday Superhouse
  3. Who’s Got A Match
  4. As Dust Dances/Two Fifteenths
  5. Whole Child Ago
  6. Conversation Is
  7. Now I’m Everyone
  8. Semi Mental/Four Fifteenths
  9. Love Has A Diameter
  10. Get Fucked Stud
  11. Folding Stars
  12. Nine Fifteenths
  13. Machines