Biffy Clyro
Only Revolutions



by bodiesinflight57 USER (14 Reviews)
November 9th, 2009 | 44 replies

Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not 'Puzzle Part 2' and not as mainstreams as some people will have you think.

The release of 'That Golden Rule' as the first official single from 'Only Revolutions' saw some long-term Biffy Clyro fans rejoicing. They felt that the band's 2007 breakthrough record 'Puzzle' had been too mainstream and abandoned many of the intricacies of the band that their small, devoted army of fans had fallen in love with on an album such as 2003's 'The Vertigo Of Bliss'. 'That Golden Rule' however was far more like their old style with bonecrushingly heavy riffs in bizarre time signatures creating something akin to what Nirvana may have sounded like if they had gone prog.

The release of the second official single, 'The Captain', and the announcement of a track listing including the 2008's massive top 5, supposedly stand alone, single 'Mountains' made some of these same long-term fans turn their back on the band once more. 'The Captain' had been, in its original incarnation as the epic 'Help Me Become Captain', a worthy successor to previous Biffy monster tracks such as 'Toys, Toys, Toys, Choke, Toys, Toys, Toys' or 'Glitter And Trauma'. However the version released as a single was poppy with horns of all things leading the song along with the massive sing-a-long line of "Somebody help me sing". However what those who just wanted Biffy to release an album like their first three failed to accept is that it was still a good song, if maybe a little overblown. 'Mountains' is also as fine an anthem now as it was on its release and does not sound at all out of place on 'Only Revolutions' which, for all its faults, is actually a fine album in the Biffy tradition.

Perhaps the thing most noticeable when first listening to the album as a whole is that it has, to put it bluntly, no real flow. The record is very much a collection of songs rather than an album of continuous tracks that sound like they should be played in a specific order. Some of the songs are true works of genius with 'Bubbles' and 'Cloud Of Stink' just as worthy of praise as 'That Golden Rule'. 'Bubbles' climaxes with a wonderful Josh Homme guitar solo while the latter is led by wonderful straining falsetto vocals by Biffy frontman Simon Neil and frantic drumming from Ben Johnston. The acoustic 'God & Satan' meanwhile features some of Neil's simplest lyrics to date but also some of his most effective with pearls such as "I'm not being cynical / There are no miracles and this is no miraculous life" standing out on first listen.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the album however is the funky, yes you read that right funky, 'Born On A Horse'. Led by synth from bassist James Johnston and lines such as "I pronounce it aluminium because there's an i next to the u and the m" and "I've never had a lover who's my sister or my brother before" this is a complete departure from anything Biffy Clyro have ever put on an album before. It may not be the strongest track on the record but it is certainly the most fun to listen to. Another departure comes towards the end of the earlier seemingly standard Biffy song 'Shock Shock'. A noise suddenly comes into the song that sounds very much like an unused part of the original Star Trek theme tune (I think it's a theramin but cannot be sure). The introduction of 'Know Your Quarry' meanwhile fools me for one into believing I've actually started listening to 'Tubular Bells' instead.

The focus on this album is definitely on the songs themselves. Biffy have returned an album full of ideas but ideas contained within the standard definition of the rock, or even pop dare I say it, song. Whereas in the past ideas were pushed much further afield Biffy have elected to focus more on songwriting than ever before and this has resulted in an album that is braver than many realise. It would have been very easy for Biffy to write an album that was similar to 'Puzzle' in terms of theme and Foo Fighters esque hard rock sound. Instead they have chosen to include songs that are hopeful and use varied and interesting instrumentation and styles new to the band. Sure there are faults, the main one for me being GGGarth Richardson's production which gives the guitars less of a raw crunch and Si's vocals less of the yearning that I loved so much about them on the likes of '57'. There is also the miss that is 'Booooom, Blast & Ruin' which, although no longer sounding as terrible as I thought it did on first listen is far too pedestrian and Fall Out Boy sounding for a unique British band such as Biffy.

If those who are queuing up to dismiss this album give it a proper listen they might be surprised. 'Only Revolutions' is something other than it may appear on first listen, perhaps summed up best by closing track 'Whorses' where Si sings how "It looked like rain yet it felt like snow". Not a classic album but a very good one to say the least.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 9th 2009


Nice review. Never listened to these guys, might need to check them out.

November 9th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, though I wasnt too impressed by this tbh

November 9th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Worth another listen, I was very meh about it first time round but as you can see from this review I like it a lot now.

November 9th 2009


Album Rating: 1.5

about time someone wrote another review of this tbh :P

November 9th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

Yeh I ll definitely give in more listens, I saw them live last week and they were really good, including new stuff

November 9th 2009


on my third listen, and it's about a 4/5 for me. yet again, different from what's come before. a lot of people seem to forget that those lauded first three albums were pretty damn different from each other. even VOB and infinity land, the two that sounded most alike, still had a pretty wide gap between them in terms of sound. as for quality, every one of their albums has hovered around a 4 to 4.5 for me - they're nothing if not consistent.

also, the b-sides i've heard from this are badass, and should pacify those who prefer their older stuff.

November 10th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

I've yet to listen to this but im somewhat dissapointed with the very mixed response the album sees to be getting

November 11th 2009


nifty biffy

November 12th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I want to get this. 'Infinity Land' is one of my fave albums ever!

November 13th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

Good job, i have a serious love/hate thing with biffy, with half the songs sitting pretty, whilst i can't get along with the others to save my life. I don't doubt this will be any different, but 3 tracks in, it's pretty good stuff. That Golden Rule is magic. If it carries on in the same vein i'm sure it's a 4.

November 17th 2009


I'm surprised Sputnik isn't ape-shit over this, this is the sort of mildly entertaining rock that alot of people here are into.

Adore that album cover though, made up for Puzzles'.

November 23rd 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Okay, this is fucking great.

November 23rd 2009


I'm surprised Sputnik isn't ape-shit over this, this is the sort of mildly entertaining rock that alot of people here are into.


December 10th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Biffy go (sort of) pop!

December 10th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Biffy Clyro divide loyal fans by aiming for arenas on 5th LP 'Only Revolutions'. Whether delivering hard-hitting or gentler numbers, the Scots have near perfected the anthemic sing-along. The LP is flawed due to issues with flow, lyrics & occasional vocal grunt, but these are offset by a likeable, character-rich delivery with next to no filler. This is soaring mainstream rock with enough quirks to distinguish it & make it a thoroughly satisfying listen. Plus, the frantic riffs, pleading howls & orgasmic symphonic-metal climax of 'That Golden Rule' make it a song of '09 contender. Recommended Tracks: That Golden Rule, Mountains, Shock Shock & Many of Horror.

December 10th 2009


I always loved The Machine from these guys. I'm undecided about this.

December 27th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

Adore that album cover though, made up for Puzzles'.

I liked the cover for Puzzle...

January 17th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

One of my favourite albums of last year for sure. Nice review, Ben.

"Captain" is still the only song that doesn't do anything for me. Opening with TGR would have been better, and then fitting HMBC somewhere. Apart from that, it's brilliant.

January 17th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

nah i think captain is a good song, tho the video was a bit dodgy.

quite a catchy album as a whole.

February 6th 2010


Why are they releasing all the bad songs as singles? >_>

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