Biffy Clyro

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Ellipsis Review

by Matt Collar

Named after the three periods at the end of a sentence that indicate an omission or unfinished idea, Biffy Clyro's seventh studio album, 2016's delightfully compact Ellipsis, is a power blast of an album that finds the Scottish outfit knocking out a tidy set of crisp anthems. Produced by the band and Rich Costey (Muse, Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine), Ellipsis follows up the group's ambitious 2013 double album Opposites. However, it feels more connected to their breakthrough Mercury Prize-nominated 2009 effort, Only Revolutions. As with that album, Ellipsis showcases the trio's knack for crafting muscular punk-prog numbers with choruses that beg for stadium-sized crowd singalongs, just as they challenge fans with unexpected phrasing and the occasional odd time signature. Although there isn't anything as monumental as "Mountains" off Only Revolutions, there are still some decidedly infectious moments on Ellipses. Cut's like the lead-off "Wolves of Winter" and "On a Bang" are passionately delivered, wicked-tongued hard rockers that frame lead singer Simon Neil's addictive brogue yawp with spring-loaded basslines, hard-driving drums, and brutal, thickly compressed electric guitar riffs. Conversely, tracks like the yearningly romantic "Re-Arrange" and the acoustic guitar-based "Medicine" prove that, while Biffy Clyro can hang with the heaviest of guitar bands, they're also adept pop songwriters with emotive, poetic souls. It's a balance they perfect here on cuts like the driving Queens of the Stone Age-sounding "Animal Style" and the late-album standout "Howl." While the album title implies that Biffy Clyro have something more to say here, the truth is that Ellipsis is a pleasingly efficient album that never sounds incomplete or labored. If anything, Biffy Clyro have discovered new ways to boil down their more complex thoughts and emotions into snarling, meaty pop slogans. As Neil sings on "Howl," "So, I'm gonna howl like an animal/'Cause lately it's hard to let you know..."

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