Single Review: Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier

By on Monday, 17th December 2012 at 12:00 pm

Long awaited by the faithful, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro have released the first single off their upcoming double album ‘Opposites’, due out next month. ‘Black Chandelier’ starts with a syncopated a capella “drip, drip, drip” from the boys that then slides into a non-threatening melody that shows little novelty. With slightly trite lyrics, my first listen had me a bit worried: “it feels like we’re ready to crack these days you and I / when it’s just the two of us, only the two of us, I could die”. And then even worse, “you left my heart like an abandoned car”; it just didn’t sound like the band I had come to know and love. But the Biff-ness soars back with the tiniest alteration the second time around, “when it’s just the two of us and a cute little cup of cyanide”. Mmmm, cyanide…

It’s not always the words that draw you to a Biffy Clyro song. No, it’s the uniqueness of the timing, the melding of lyrical with a hard edge, the overall bizarreness of some of it. And that’s there, coming through on even this most radio-friendly of tracks. About three-quarters of the way through, we get a tasty bit of what we’ve come to expect with a couple of bars of crunching guitar and odd gasps from lead singer Simon Neil. It’s just enough edge to ensure that no one mistakenly plays this at a school disco. This is the kind of peculiarity that binds fans to the band.

The accompanying video, however, is absolutely brilliant and goes a long way to making the song less pedestrian in my eyes. Filmed in London last month by renowned directors Andy Delaney and Monty Whitebloom from Big TV, the mood is both menacing and poetic. Melding the fiery performance style that Neil and the Johnston twins are known for with a big cinematic feel from eye-popping graphics, the video itself is a masterpiece. I do want to say that when I first watched it, I really expected the “black” to burst all over the band covering them in it, not explode into mist. Perhaps there are outtakes where they tried that?

I was lucky enough to get to the extraordinarily intimate Warner U.S. preview gig earlier this month in New York City, so I have heard a good selection of the new tunes. I can honestly say that despite what Zane Lowe pronounced when he premiered the song, this is not the best Biffy has to offer this time around. But make no mistake, this is their single, like ‘Many of Horror’ before it. It has a place in the Biffy pantheon and will likely be a smash. Everything else I’ve heard so far is BETTER. So do not, DO NOT, miss them live, I say; see dates for their spring UK/Irish tour here.


‘Black Chandelier’ will be released on the 14th of January 2013 along with two non-album tracks, ‘The Rain’ and ‘Thundermonster’. ‘Opposites’, their new double album, will drop on the 28th of January.


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