Biffy Clyro

Only Revolutions

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Understandably pleased with the success of their mainstream breakthrough album, Puzzle (2007), Biffy Clyro don't change much on the follow-up effort, Only Revolutions. Like Puzzle, it finds the Scottish alternative rockers at their most immediate and accessible. Once again they work with producer Garth Richardson and smooth out the rougher aspects of their early recordings, the Beggars Banquet albums Blackened Sky (2002), The Vertigo of Bliss (2003), and Infinity Land (2004). They restrain their prog tendencies, keeping the songs short and concise, and amplify their melodic side, recording with a full orchestra. They include a few mellow tunes on Only Revolutions, "God & Satan," "Many of Horror," and "Know Your Quarry," yet Biffy Clyro are still at their best when they let it rip. "That Golden Rule," "Bubbles," "Mountains," and "Booooom, Blast & Ruin" are highly charged rockers that race along quickly and shift gears often. These album highlights are edgy and rock hard, yet they're graced with memorable hooks and melodies at the same time. Now and then the band's pop/rock is off balance, for instance the album opener, "The Captain," which leans too far toward pop for comfort. Among the standout rockers, the previously released "Mountains" from 2008 and the lead single "That Golden Rule" are both great, and "Bubbles" is even better. Featuring Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age on second guitar, "Bubbles" has it all -- hammering riffs, adventurous jams, ear-pleasing chorus, sharp dynamics -- and it's the album's longest and most satisfying song, rocking for a full five minutes whereas most other songs on Only Revolutions are over and done with a minute or two sooner.

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