Review by Dom Vigil
Biffy Clyro’s newest release, Ellipsis has a little bit of something for everyone. Want some dark guitar and anthemic vocals? The opening track “Wolves of Winter” is for you. Looking for something softer and more emotional? Look no further - “Re-arrange” is your track. Do you need some more aggression and grit? “On A Bang” should do the trick. What I’m trying to say is that Ellipsis may not be entirely what listeners expected from the trio, but it’s exactly what they need. This release is not only diverse and larger than life, but it also promises to dig deep emotionally and make you question everything you thought you knew about this band.
As previously mentioned, a strong guitar tone and aggressive vocals open up Ellipsis on “Wolves of Winter,” posing the question, “How’s it gonna feel when there’s no one to support you?/How’s it gonna feel when you’re standing there alone?” The song starts off loud and aggressive before opening up into a slower chorus and transitioning into some incredible bass work and very groovy vocals. Lyrically, the track is a very obvious “fuck you” to those who didn’t believe in the band, and can you blame them? Within seconds, it’s apparent that this album is going to be Biffy Clyro’s strongest thus far. Then comes “Friends And Enemies,” which has a slightly lighter tone and kicks off with incredible drumming. “Friends And Enemies” feels big, bright and anthemic, right down the chorus of voices toward the end of the song.
Then, just when you think you have Ellipsis figured out, “Re-arrange” comes in flips the script yet again. This song not only feels like a cry for help, but also shows us a much softer, more vulnerable side of the band. It's also a breath of fresh air after the first few big, loud opening tracks. Lines like “You should know by now that I'm broken and I need your help,” and “I wrote a hundred songs to make sense of the meaningless,” are heartbreakingly beautiful.
From “Re-arrange,” things stay a little mellow for the next few songs with “Herex” and the acoustic track, “Medicine,” which just happens to be one of the more vulnerable and emotionally powerful songs on the album. While Ellipsis may be wildly diverse, Biffy Clyro aren’t stupid - they definitely know how to tell a story with these songs and the way that they are arranged, and the result is a journey from start to finish. After “Medicine” comes “Flammable,” which literally feels as if the band has picked themselves up off the floor. The song, while not quite as explosive as the opener feels like a call to arms. Then comes “On A Bang,” which really does hit with a bang. This song follows the theme of anger and frustration as guitarist/vocalist Simon Neil wails, “Why can’t you fuckin’ do better?”
“Small Wishes” is the only rough transition on the entirety of Ellipsis, but it’s a fairly easy one to overlook considering how stunning the track itself is. Though the difference between “On A Bang” and “Small Wishes” is huge, the palpable sense of hope and light on this song more than makes up for it. Then, the themes of “Re-arrange” and “Medicine” resurface with “Howl,” another notably brighter song. Lyrically, the song is very introspective as Neil admits his faults and addresses the ways that he has changed. Then, the band leaves us with the vulnerable and very human final track, “People,” and you’ll want to cry and jump for joy at the same time.
Ellipsis is explosive, emotional and incredibly human. Emotions range from anger, frustration and fear to hope, pride and everything else in between in these eleven songs. When I say that there’s a song for everyone on this release, it’s because there is at least one theme that any given person can relate to, be it the fear of failure, overcoming self-medication or finding the right people to surround yourself with. Not only is Ellipsis fun to listen to, incredibly diverse and quite possibly some of the band’s best written content to date, but the driving force behind the album is definitely the emotion. With the honesty and vulnerability on this release, Biffy Clyro are back and better than ever.
Listen to "Wolves Of Winter" "Medicine" or "On A Bang"
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