November 06, 2009 - Warner Bros.
Though Biffy Clyro have been tearing up the U.K. charts for several years, their presence has been a slow burn in the U.S. Puzzles, their 2007 breakthrough chronicling frontman Simon Neil's struggle with his mother's death, should've been the album that worked U.S. rock fans into a tizzy, but for reasons mostly unexplainable, it did not. With their latest effort, Only Revolutions (which had a late-2009 release in the U.K. but only recently hit North American shelves), Biffy Clyro come out swinging with one of the tightest rock records either side of the pond has produced in recent years.
Kicking off with the militaristic "The Captain," complete with gang vocals and bombastic horns, Neil's deliciously smooth brogue reins in the chaos, before merging into the Foo Fighters-esque, time-signature switching gem "That Golden Rule." Only Revolutions should draw in listeners with its high energy levels, variety of chord changes ("The Captain"), pitch-perfect pop choruses ("Bubbles," "Shock Shock") and well-placed guitar feedback ("Mountains"), but it's the stories told through the lyrics that will most encourage repeat listens. Slow jam "Many Of Horror" is a beautiful ode to love and devotion-even when the relationship is troubled ("When we collide we come together/If we don't we'll always be apart/I'll take a bruise, I know you're worth it/When you hit me, hit hard"). Acoustic strummer "God & Satan" finds Neil posing very relatable questions about his life philosophy ("I talk to God as much as Satan 'cause I want to hear both sides/Does that make me cynical?" and "I savor hate as much as I crave love because/I'm just a twisted guy/Is this the pinnacle, is this the pinnacle, the pinnacle of being alive?").
Most of Only Revolutions' songs address Neil's recent marriage, but we don't know if it's his honesty and willingness to admit his shortcomings or his Scottish accent that adds more allure to the slice-of-life snippets he shares. Either way, this is one rock record that should be on everyone's radar--no matter what your citizenship.