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Singles 2001-2005


An encounter with my conscience…


So what brings you here today?

It started when I was sent a review copy of the Biffy Clyro early singles collection a couple of weeks ago.  Since then I have been unable to think about anything but beginning to review it.  I try to be objective, but there are just some things that bore into your soul and bring out this irrational rage towards something that I should otherwise ignore.  One of those things is Biffy fucking Clyro. 


And how long have you felt this rage?

For a long time.  I’m not one of these who hates them because they’re massive.  I’ve hated them for at least six years, before the plaudits and Virgin Radio friendly MOR trash made them a load of money and turned them into the new Snow Patrol.  I remember ‘27’ the first time, and even back then I was astute enough to earmark as Nirvana raping trash.  That’s the problem, you see.  I hate British people trying to sound American. 


And this is why you’re angry with them?

No, no, that’s just the beginning.  People tell me they’ve watered down in recent years, but they were always pretty toothless; they just got given more money in order to make blander albums.  But from the start they made vacuous derivative rock music that could only appear edgy on a Top Gear album.  Take one big ballad of many, ‘57’ which is just playing on the popularity of the likes of Soundgarden.  This album just proves that they were vapid from the outset – all faux-angst and tried and tested riffery.


I guess it all stems back to Stereophonics, really.  They were a band I loved for a whole album, and then they went and shat on with over a decades worth of abysmal chart-fucking dross.  It hurt.  So I had a mistrust of rock bands anyway.


So you’re projecting your disappointment with Stereophonics onto Biffy Clyro?

Nope – I just didn’t entertain the idea of them ever being any good.  ‘The Ideal Height’ has a painful chorus that even the most spineless of indie bands would balk at.  It’s always been about teetering the near the centre and producing something that neither fulfils a teenage mosher’s wet dream nor the lighter waving rawk that your borderline alcoholic uncle will love for decades to come. 

Now you mention your family…

Another time.  I have one nice thing to say.  ‘Toys Toys Toys Choke, Toys Toys Toys’ descends in some quite enjoyable screaming, but it’s just copyist and uninspired.  There are plenty of places to find this stuff done better.  To describe a band as sub-Feeder is a pretty ropey shout, but it’s true.  They’re of the same ilk.  ‘Questions and Answers’ is one of the louder moments on this cash-in special, which collates all of the singles from before most people gave a shit and when their old fans actually thought they were worth a dime.  If anything, this proves that they’ve always been shit.  The vocals sound consistently strained, fluctuating from constipated to pained at any given time.  The imagery is just Nirvana-chic bollocks – life’s unfair and it makes me want to play my guitar really loud.  Nirvana did it fucking well, this on the other hand is completely contrived and devoid of any soul whatsoever.


Admittedly they have a balls out rock moment with ‘There’s No Such Thing As A Jazzy Snake,’ which during the instrumentals is quite enjoyable.  For the rest, just listen to Slipknot for a more enjoyable but not entirely dissimilar experience. 


So why do you feel that has started to trouble you when it comes to writing a review? 

Well to put all these things out on the internet – it’s a bit spiteful really.  I fear writing something I’d regret – things that I’d say to my housemates but not necessarily the general public. 


Would that involve diseases?

Yes, and probably sodomy.  And the c word.


Then perhaps you should just decline to review it.

That probably would be for the best, wouldn’t it?