Review: Biffy Clyro – ‘Only Revolutions’

So where do I start with what some are saying is ‘their best album to date!’ Well confusing is the first thing that comes to mind. ‘Only Revolutions‘ is perplexing, but not in the good sense. For me its still in the middle as to whether or not its absolute genius.


I am a huge Biffy Clyro fan and think their entire back catalogue is something of great intent. It’s powerful emotive driven alternative rock music. It speaks volumes to their many die hard fans and the reason why people call them ‘the peoples’ band. Last album ‘Puzzle’ was such a major accomplishment. Highly emotional and an energy that most bands struggle to match. It was leaps and bounds ahead of anything they had done before. So I was slightly disappointed when I heard ‘Only Revolutions’ for the first time. My mind went into spasm and could not figure out what it was listening to. Was this really the follow up to ‘Puzzle’?

Three things you must know. 1. This really is the most confusing piece of work Biffy have ever made, and for that I salute them. 2. It’s almost bordering on genius, but it’s not quite there yet. 3. Simon Neil is OBSSESSED with horses! What’s that about? So let me break all this down for you, let’s see where Biffy have taken us now!

Perplexity instantly starts with opener ‘Captain‘. It starts with the sound of hoofs galloping into a crescendo, and then the brass section and crashing guitars kick off the album. You heard me right, a brass section indeed. See I told you! It’s like they are throwing away the Biffy rulebook and gone fuck it, give me a trumpet. ‘Captain’ has grown on me though, it’s a fun song that definitely shows a lighter side to the band. Something that’s never been visible before. It’s ‘That Golden Rule‘ that showcases old school Biffy with thunderous riffs and glorious vocal talents from Simon that just rips this song open. It was my first taste of the new album and cleverly done, because its the sound I was certainly expecting. They then only continue with Marmaduke Duke infused ‘Bubbles‘. It’s like the Biffy front man has got his two bands mixed up. He has constructed what can only be described as an intelligent mash up of Prince style funk and classic rock, but done in a very tasteful way indeed. Yet again confusion ensues with the track ‘Born On A Horse‘. You feel like your listening to the opening of Black Holes… era Muse. It sounds like a love song to a horse! Yep I said it, it has a slight bestiality theme to it. This band really twist my head when they come up with songs like this. Its mad professor genius on a different scale.

Mountains‘ has been around for a while. Its inclusion on the singles collection made it their biggest selling single to date. It has certainly grown on me since its inclusion on this album. It’s a definite mediator between the Freudian horse references and the mainstream rock side that the band sometimes demonstrate. The heartbreaking emotional side to this band can be heard on ‘Many Of Horror‘. Quite possibly my favourite song on the album. What the band do so well is wear their hearts on their sleeve. They did it throughout ‘Puzzle’ and this song is no exception. It’s not gushy or over indulgent, it’s just raw emotion by a very talented songwriter. Powerful with the big rock chorus and all in the right places too. ‘Booooom Blast & Ruin‘, (making sure there are the correct amount of O’s), is a fast paced and fun alternative to the weirdness present on ‘Only Revolutions‘. Hints again of Simon Neil’s side project but with great results. The album closes with yet another horse reference. ‘Whorses‘ is a big sounding song that rounds off what is definitely a peculiar musical journey.

Biffy Clyro never cease to amaze me, with their weird and obscure animal references mixed with pummeling hard rock riffs. ‘Only Revolutions’ has not only be confusing to listen to but it has been an enlightening experience. Don’t expect a heavy, all out, rock extravaganza, this album however will not disappoint. It’s complex, peculiar and bordering on genius. It’s a different sounding Biffy album, but it will only cement them as one of the greatest British Rock bands of the 21st century.

Peter Cornish-Barlow

The album’s track listing is as follows:

1. The Captain
2. That Golden Rule
3. Bubbles
4. God & Satan
5. Born On A Horse
6. Mountains
7. Shock Shock
8. Many Of Horror
9. Booooom. Blast And Ruin
10. Know Your Quarry
11. Whorses
12. I’m Probably In Your Pocket
13. Cloud Of Stink

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