Friday, 22 February 2013

Review - Biffy Clyro, Mallory Knox & Pure Love

Biffy Clyro – Opposites
(Source)
Easily the most recognisable name of this review, the hype surrounding this release was fairly apparent to most people. Biffy has risen greatly in popularity over the past few years, and so, had a lot to live up to, releasing a double album effort (I personally have only listened to the single CD version). Which, I feel, they do and don’t. In general, the style of the album bears many similarities to their last effort, Only Revolutions. The same, soaring melodies and strong riffs are still present. Yet, there is something entirely non-catchy about their tunes; I have found it near impossible to get any of them stuck in my head for any great length of time. This makes their songs potentially less annoying, but also less memorable. For me, much of the album blends together, sounding all rather similar and hard to distinguish. Lyrically, there seems to be no powerful message of theme, indeed many lines making little sense in any respect – anyone want to explain what ‘her tiny saxophone’ is? A few tracks do stand out for me though: Sounds Like Balloons has a strong opening riff, easily recognisable, Biblical and Skylight are powerful and emotive, and Stingin’ Belle harks back to the band’s Scottish roots with a wonderful bagpipe input. Overall, it’s an enjoyable, easy to listen to album that I would happily play in the background throughout my day, but nothing that I will feel particular affinity to or remember significantly.

Mallory Knox – Signals
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A band’s debut album, as this is, has to make a strong first impression, telling your listeners what you’re all about. There are no expectations to live up to, or preconceived ideas about your music, which is both a positive and a negative; no chance of disappointment, but also no large pre-existing fan base to support you. Mallory Knox burst out with an album of catchy, energetic riffs and meaningful lyrics, making for an excellent listen. They sound young, fresh and energetic, giving their all to their music, reaching out to listeners who can relate to them. For me, their sound may not innovative or experimental, but rather fits in perfectly with my music collection full of the likes of Young Guns and Deaf Havana (bands whom Mallory Knox can be linked to through various tours). Even if this is not your preferred style, they are easy to listen to, and have clocked up a fair amount of Radio 1 airplay, and could be a good introduction to those not familiar with this genre as a whole. Their lyrics veer into dark territory at times, but are personal and meaningful, and relatable to many people I would expect. The album has a decent range as well, from the up-tempo, energetic tracks, to the slower, simpler ones, showing that they are willing to experiment a bit. Stand outs for me include Beggars, Death Rattle, Wake Up, Signals and Creeper. I found it to be a great listen from start to finish, and since this debut is all we have to go by, indicates great things to come from this band.

Pure Love – Anthems
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For most people, I would guess the first word that springs to mind when thinking of Pure Love is unexpected.  There was a great deal of shock when Frank Carter left hardcore punk band Gallows and teamed up with former Hope Conspiracy guitarist Jim Carroll. Their new style of music is a far cry from their previous, as they have moved into rock’n’roll territory. Anthems is their first offering together, and it does not disappoint. I can understand Gallows fans not liking this style, as Carter has clearly moved on from his old ways, but this album will easily appeal to a new crowd of followers. Personally, I don’t like the hardcore, screaming style, and Pure Love is far more up my street. Their songs are upbeat and catchy, while maintaining the raw reality and personal influence of good rock music. Far from ‘selling out’ as some may think, Carter is pouring himself into these songs, as well as displaying off some impressive vocals that I, thinking him a screamer, was previously unaware of, and teamed with Carroll’s energetic riffs, it seems to be a winning combination. Highlights off the album for me, include Riot Song, Handsome Devil’s Club, The Hits and Beach of Diamonds. The album hits the perfect combination of bright, catchy tunes and meaningful, real emotions behind the music and lyrics. Here’s hoping these boys find success in this new venture, as this is certainly a promising start. 
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