Album review: Biffy Clyro – The Myth Of The Happily Ever After

Biffy Clyro emerge from lockdown with watertight companion album, The Myth Of The Happily Ever After.

Album review: Biffy Clyro – The Myth Of The Happily Ever After
Ian Winwood

For the recording of last year’s world-beating A Celebration Of Endings album, Biffy Clyro decamped to Lotus Eater Studios in Santa Monica to work with producer Rich Costey. Tracking also took place at three separate studios in London. With the planet grounded because of The Disease, its companion piece, The Myth Of The Happily Ever After, was made at the trio’s home studio on a farm in Ayrshire. Despite the change in circumstances, there is no difference in the level of quality.

And what a level it is. In the third decade of the 21st century, Biffy are operating at an altitude at which other bands can only dream. As has been the case since Puzzle, on first – and second, third and fourth – listens the trio’s new album delights and bamboozles in equal measure. There is too much take in; things slip by unnoticed, tiny pieces of magic hide among the splendour of it all. But one of The Myth Of The Happily Ever After’s core ingredients is the patience with which it reveals its secrets, the length of time it takes to uncover its priceless artefacts. Here, song structures are subverted, arrangements are constructed with forensic care, while the level of creativity is unsurpassed. Many months from now, it will still retain the capacity to surprise, and excite.

Throughout, the songs are articles of wonder. With its faint echoes of Itchycoo Park, by the Small Faces, Witch’s Cup is an earworm with a long-term lease. As Simon Neil sings 'wisdom no more… eloquence no more', on the barnstorming A Hunger In Your Haunt, he might just be throwing a nod toward his Celtic brethren The Proclaimers. The murderous groove of Errors In The History Of God proves once again that twin brothers Ben and James Johnston are one of the best, if not the best, rhythm sections in popular music. Most striking of all, the album’s closing track, the wondrous and berserk Slurpy Slurpy Sleep Sleep – a sister piece to the wildly liberating Cop Syrup – shows what can be achieved when a band possesses the talent to harness the furthest reaches of a capacious imagination.

Deconstructive, deliberate and exquisitely designed, The Myth Of The Happily Ever After is the sound of a world-class band making truly world-class music. The only thing more exciting than every bar of its 11 songs is the promise of where Biffy Clyro might go next.

Verdict: 5/5

For fans of: Muse, Rush, At The Drive In

The Myth Of The Happily Ever After is released on October 22 via Warner Records

Read this: “I don’t feel that we belong anywhere, but we belong together”: How Biffy Clyro found their happy place

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