Album Review: Biffy Clyro – Balance, Not Symmetry

“I don’t wanna be defeated, I just wanna fuck.”

Okay, that isn’t what I expected to be the first line of an album by one of the first bands my father ever introduced to me but, to be fair, we also used to sing along to Framing Hanley’s Lollipop – a song about blowjobs – with me at 8 years of age, so make of that what you will. Music raised me as much as my father did; I can still remember him making the car ‘dance’ to various Paramore and Linkin Park bangers, but a little bit of Biffy was our favourite – I’ve always loved a good metaphor and maybe Biffy Clyro has something to do with that! That’s why this band means so much to me,  and why I am so glad that this album did not disappoint.

Let’s start with what they haven’t changed: the album is 17 songs long, they use rhythms as catchy as the melodies and lyrical genius. The usual Biffy Clyro. When I played the first few songs to my dad his exact words were, “Yeah, that’s Biffy.” So, old fans, you won’t be unsatisfied.

A few songs from the album will soundtrack an as-yet-unseen film also title Balance, Not Symmetry.

Use your imagination for a second. You have just been handed a mobile phone that contains all of the innermost thoughts of Biffy Clyro. Each song of this album is a different snippet from their brain. Occasionally you find a video, other times just an image or an anecdote written in Notes. That’s how I see this album. With songs like ‘Pink’, ‘Navy Blue’ and ‘Yellow’ that really feel like a not yet fully explored idea, but in the best way. It doesn’t sound unfinished, just a little raw.

Now, what’s different? If you’ve followed Biffy for a while – perhaps even over half your life, like me – then you’ll know that they’ve been experimental before. They’ve played with unexpected instrumentation, a synth or five and an occasional set of bagpipes. But, this is the first album that almost gives me Frank Ocean vibes in terms of the instrumentation on a few of the songs, the most prevalent being ‘Plead’.

BC

My favourite song on the album – although nobody’s asking – has to be ‘The Naturals’. I like how typical Biffy it is! It’s as if ‘The Captain’ and ‘God & Satan’ had a lovechild and I couldn’t be happier.

If you’ve loved Biffy for a while, you’ll still love them now and won’t get bored because they do try new things. If you haven’t heard of them before, give them a listen! My best friend heard the first 30 seconds of this album and asked for the link to their Spotify – if that doesn’t tell you how great this album is, I don’t know what will. So, I’m giving you what I’ve given her! Do yourself a favour and let a few Biffy Clyro metaphors wriggle themselves into your brain. You won’t regret it.

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