The masters of modern rock anthems, Biffy Clyro, have returned with ‘The Myth of The Happily Ever After’, a powerful assemblage of themes around unsuspecting beginnings, ends and all things in between. Let’s face it, the title’s as loaded as one can possibly be — especially given that things, indeed, rarely do pan out as expected. And that’s if the endgame ever comes. See? It’s already got a talking point before you even listen to the tunes within…
The many records in their back catalogue are testament to how much they’re revered and, not just enjoyed, but fully backed by a community of diehard fans globally. And in Scotland, they’re the Irn Bru of music; Biffy Clyro might as well be a religion. Their commanding on-stage presence makes their shows nothing but biblical, too, and this latest set of tunes can be devoured for that same quality.
‘Unknown Male 01’ was the first single teased from the album and it delivers a delicate formation of church-style organs and keys overlaid with their standard punchy guitars. As the song progresses, so too does the tempo. The six-plus minutes may start softly, but there’s an explosion into a more riotous affair. This kind of style is very typical of the band’s blueprint. But, when compared to the feistier ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’, which was the second single to rear its head, it lacks something as ferocious. The unchained riffs in this sophomore pitch of their new album’s campaign raised the bar entirely for me; I knew it would be a record to watch out for.
On the day of release, everyone was crowing about ‘Errors In The History Of God’, another classic Biffy-esque offering. But it isn’t the hero for me — that is, undoubtedly, ‘Denier’. As I always lean towards alt rock, this thrashing piece is the slickest instrumentally. Its questioning, finger-pointing lyrics also work incredibly well with the anthemic chorus.
If you’re into your electronics, the experimental style of ‘Separate Missions’ is flawless. The underpinning bass notes and steady drums smudge seamlessly into the screeching synths that add the gloss. Simon Neil’s vocals feed note-for-note into the chord progressions and melody, too.
Throughout, Biffy throw their creative licence around. That’s where we get stabbing starts to buoyant, well-crafted offerings such as ‘Witch’s Cup’, which its token muted strings. And then there’s the modest ‘Haru Urara’, which almost pares back the range and flair of their instruments to keep things totally simple. There’s something sensibly safe about the guitars on this harmonious track, but its clean-cut nature is a real selling point for me. I also think the atmospheric sounds of ‘Existed’ are worth praising here, even though this might not be an obvious ‘favourite’, per se.
While I’ve just cherry-picked some of my standouts, it’s worth noting that this album is a projection of the lessons Biffy have learned since starting out. They know how to craft really solid tracks and make a very varied collection of songs, which is why they’re top tier.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Denier’