Biffy Clyro – Why They Are The Saviours Of British Alternative Rock!

Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro have just recently released their amazing powerhouse of a single, ‘That Golden Rule’. A riff heavy, melodic slice of whats to come from their new album, tentatively titled ‘Only Revolutions’. As of yet the fifth studio album from the band does not have a confirmed release date, but we know it will be some time in November. So how does a band like Biffy Clyro go from a small underground noise act to a behemoth of sound in a space of a few years, well let me tell you.

Simon Neil (Guitar/Vocals) and twins James Johnston (Bass/Vocals) and Ben Johnston (Drums/Vocals) are from Ayrshire in Scotland. Starting out under the name “Screwfish” they played their first gig supporting a band called Pink Kross in East Kilbride. They would continue playing mostly in Glasgow where Simon attended university. Simon says, of the bands sound back then, “At that point we probably sounded like every other band who’d ever heard Nirvana”. The band discovered distortion pedals and were still finding their feet in regards to their sound. The band would then release their first EP, ‘thekidswhopoptodaywillrocktomorrow’, through Electric Honey Records. A few days prior to that release they were spotted on the unsigned stage at T in The Park in 2000. There a Beggars Banquet representative saw the band play and got them signed to the independent label.

On March 11th 2002 the band would release their debut album, ‘Blackened Sky’. It would receive very positive reviews on its release and even earned them a support slot for Weezer on their UK tour of the same year. This debut definitely cemented their cult status in the hearts of many a fan. Melodic, distorted, angular rock songs that were much more complicated in sound to their earlier efforts. They had finally found the sound they were looking for and the band wasted no time and released their second album, ‘Vertigo Of Bliss’, on the 16th June the following year.
This album for me is definitely the stronger of the first three albums. They constructed more obtuse songs but yet still retaining that melodic edge. The singles off that album included ‘The Ideal Height’ and ‘Questions and Answers’, which both respectively got a lot of airplay and won them  legions of fans. They were more focused on really building their current sound, more confidently produced and saw the welcome addition of a string section for this more experimental edge.

One thing to know about Biffy Clyro at this point is that they were quickly known has the most hard working band around. Never stopping and constantly touring throughout the entire campaign for Vertigo Of Bliss. They were always the support act you wanted to see, but still did not quite make it into a massive headline act just yet.
On 4th October 2004 Biffy Clyro released their third album entitled ‘Infinity Land’. This album continued that angular noisy alternative sound that they were renowned for now. Again they were continually the hardest working band in the UK, and there were no signs of that stopping.

Releasing three very strong albums in the short space of two and half years is a hard task for any band. Biffy did it and without complaints I might add. They pushed the boundaries every time and quickly became the band for the people. ‘Mon Biffy’ would be the chant of choice and their legions of fans were there for them every step of the way. But what came next for the four-piece would be their biggest accomplishment to date. I present to you their fourth studio album, ‘Puzzle’.

Biffy left Beggars Banquet and signed to 14thFloor, a sister company of Warner Bros, in 2006. The band would then make their way to Vancouver and work with producer GGGarth for the following couple of months. In December of that year they would release ‘Semi-Mental’ as a digital download and what would become a taster for the new album. You could tell there was a shift in the sound of this track. It was big and bold but yet still contained their pink credibility. ‘Saturday Superhouse’ would be released as the first official single and would reach #13 in the UK Singles chart, their highest chart position to date. Based on this alone you could see there was definitely more interest in this band then ever before. In June 2007 ‘Puzzle’ would be released to such high praise and amazing reviews throughout all publications. It shot to #2 in the UK album charts, their highest position in their entire career. Stretching out to a much larger audience then their previous efforts, Puzzle would open up doors for them like they had never seen before. Some of the singles off that album included touching songs such as Folding Stars and Machines. Both songs influenced by the loss of Simon’s mother a couple of months before the band were due to record. In these songs it showed a softer side that the band had never let out before.

The band would go on a much larger headline tour than they ever had done previously. Playing much larger venues and filling them out to capacity. The band would also play some coveted support slots with some very established acts indeed. Queens of the Stone Age, Muse, Red Hot Chilil Peppers, The Who and The Rolling Stones just to name a few. They would go on to become what I now like to call them the ‘Saviours of British Alternative Rock’.

Their fans would then see the release of stand alone single, ‘Mountains’,to critical acclaim again, reaching #5 in the UK singles chart in 2008. This progression just showing how far they have come, fan base building up around them and anticipating what their next release will hold for them. So what can we expect of their new album?

Titled, ‘Only Revolutions’, the band work again with producer GGGarth and have said it will be “Classic Biffy”. That Golden Rule came out on the 23rdAugust and has seen the band back again in the spotlight. The single showing why Biffy Clyro are so important to the British Rock Scene. The new album being released hopefully in Oct/Nov time, will see Biffy Clyro sit very high up amongst their peers as any great band should do. It will push them further, giving them new listeners and pleasing older fans like myself. I personally cant wait for a new Biffy album and if ‘That Golden Rule’ is anything to go by, it could possibly be the album they are most remembered for.

(Peter Cornish-Barlow)

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