ALBUM REVIEW: Biffy Clyro – A Celebration of Endings

After having its initial release date pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, Scottish rock behemoths Biffy Clyro have finally graced us with their ninth offering in the form of A Celebration of Endings.

Released on 14th Floor Records, A Celebration of Endings is the beautiful glimmer of hope that soundtracks a lost British festival season in a way only ‘the biff’ know how. Amalgamating interesting song structures, stadium destined anthems, intricate vocal arrangements and inventive rhythm section work (take a bow Ben and James Johnston), it is truly the album that seems to have it all.

Opener North of No South reports on a world in a desperate state (kind of ironically this album was written pre-pandemic). Neil laments that “there’s nothing above us, below us are only corpses,”. The Champ is a scathing commentary on old out-dated attitudes to a progressive society, with a slower building intro blasting into the stratosphere with an arena anthem bravado. Pop infused Tiny Indoor Fireworks is an instant hit and could appeal to those of a lighter palette of rock music taste, which is completely turned on its head with the harsh edge of the intro to Worst Type of Best Possible, which then turns itself on its head by unfurling into more of a ballad.

Space sounds like a bit of a follow-up to 2010’s Many of Horror; it really shows off Simon Neil‘s vocal ability to the nth degree and is beautiful to bear witness to. End Of is probably the roughest of the eleven-song collection, showing off their constant ability to produce rock bangers like they’ve proven time and time again; the breakdown towards the latter end of the song is absolutely begging to be played live *sobs in 2020*. Instant History is the lead single from the album that was dropped way back in February this year and sees Biffy Clyro take a foray into a more dance laced universe, which is something I never thought I’d hear them take a stab at, but nevertheless it works utterly seamlessly.

The second (and more memorable in my humble opinion) ballad of the album comes in the form of penultimate ditty Opaque. Put simply, I adore this song; it combines string sections, Neil’s heartfelt emotive vocal delivery, expertly executed rises and falls; it is quite possibly my favourite Biffy song I’ve ever heard. Closer Cop Syrup is the exact antithesis to the former, with the hammering bassline, raucous drums and scream vocal lines showing that older darker side to the band that those of us with a heavier palette crave to be treated to, whilst still maintaining that genre blend that this album masters so wonderfully through an extended orchestral movement to close things out. Ending with an exuberant yell of “fuck everybody, woo!“, it truly leaves you with a sense of energy that is beyond addictive and truly what I live for in music. Absolutely genius.

A Celebration of Endings is the exact album I’ve been waiting to hear from this band for years. Biffy Clyro have always felt constantly on the cusp of achieving world-renowned status for their inventive blend of hard and soft, tighter than tight rhythmic melodies and mind-bending song structural formation, and it makes me happier than anything to finally hear this near perfection outfit come from them. It may be a celebration of endings, but I truly hope that’s not a literal term.

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