Biffy Clyro's album "Opposites" contains two LPs subtitled "The Sand At The Core of Our Bones" and "The Land At the End of Our Toes". Comprised of 20 tracks, the album follows the trio's 2009 platinum selling LP "Only Revolutions".
In 2011, Biffy Clyro supported the Foo Fighters at the Milton Keynes Bowl in the U.K. on Saturday, July 9th. The group also headlined the main state at Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth House and the following day, headlined the main stage (West Stage) at Wakestock in Cardigan Bay, North Wales.
"Black Chandelier" and "Stingin' Belle" are the first singles taken from the Opposites album.
Biffy Clyro have cited influences ranging from Metallica to Rush while their sound is likened to that of Nirvana and Foo Fighters.
The story of Biffy Clyro is as romantic as it is archetypal. Three childhood friends from Ayrshire formed a band, delivered three albums of abrasive youthful exuberance and finally cracked the big time when their fourth - 2007's Puzzle - hit the charts at #2. By the time the promotion of their fifth album Only Revolutions had ceased, they were bona fide stars who could headline festivals, fill arenas and deliver hit singles in an era in which rock bands rarely trouble the charts. With well over a million album sales to their name, no-one would've been too surprised to see complacency set in.
Such thoughts, however, certainly weren't going to cramp the creativity of Biffy Clyro vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Simon Neil who instead proposed the idea of a career-defining double-album, which was subsequently titled Opposites. "It was a reaction to music being so disposable these days. Music still matters to people but often it's just a distraction. I want our music to be a companion to people's lives and something they'll listen to in the future, and not just something that they're into for a week or two until they move onto the next thing."
"We were excited by the prospect, but the question seemed to be: how do we achieve that?" recalls bassist James Johnston. Yet not one member of the band - completed by James's twin brother, drummer Ben - could've foreseen its inspiration.
As much as Only Revolutions delivered everything that the trio had ever dreamed of, the subsequent burnout slowly wore the band down. As they drifted apart, Ben's drinking manifested itself with increased unpredictability. "I'd play these things down," he admits. "Like, we got through it, so it's okay. But I didn't realize how much I was letting the guys down."
The fractions within the band had already inspired Simon's writing and the 45 new songs that he had written at home had been whittled down to 24 prior to arriving in Santa Monica to commence work with producer GGGarth Richardson. The day before recording was due to start, Ben became lost in a fog of alcohol and blacked out. Something had to change.
"I'd written all of these songs about us ending up in a situation I couldn't believe we'd ended up in," grimaces Simon. "Then one day we decided that we couldn't let something as silly as drink get in the way of something we'd spent our life doing. We weren't willing to let this take hold of our journey."
"After the first couple of weeks in Santa Monica, I thought we were not only not going to make the album, but that we'd end up going home with no band," adds James, almost struggling to get the words out. "For a few months it felt like it might not last. That's absolutely devastating to even say out loud."
The proposition that Ben should stop drinking was embraced by the drummer. "It's usually the person who causes the trouble who realizes last. That sounded like a good idea, because cutting down didn't seem to be working. It never does," he opines, offering a self-deprecating half-chuckle. "I'm truly grateful that I've got people in my life who are so sensitive, so close and who care about me. They could've just as easily kicked me out of the band."
Subtitled The Sand At The Core Of Our Bones, the first disc of Opposites focuses on the dark challenges of Biffy Clyro's past. Lyrics such as "It could've been a wonderful year / Instead we might not make it to the end" (from Biblical) and "The fog has cast a shadow homeward / We're losing our direction so forget the whole thing" (from The Fog) reflect the band's fragile mental state.
"There were a couple of times where I realized that my words sounded so sad," says Simon, who's happier discussing general lyrical themes rather than specific lines. "But you've got to be honest with yourself. That's how I felt at the time, so you have to learn to trust your muse and to trust your instinct."
Two Individually Housed LPs
Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics
Simon Neil, lead guitar, lead vocals
James Johnston, bass guitar, vocals
Ben Johnston, drums, vocals
LP 1 - The Sand At the Core of Our Bones
1. Different People
2. Black Chandelier
3. Sounds Like Balloons
5. The Joke's On Us
7. A Girl And His Cat
8. The Fog
9. Little Hospitals
10. The Thaw
LP 2 - The Land At the End of Our Toes
1. Stingin' Belle
2. Modern Magic Formula
3. Spanish Radio
4. Victory Over the Sun
6. Trumpet or Tap
8. Accident Without Emergency
9. Woo Woo
10. Picture A Knife Fight