Friday, September 7th, 2012

Biffy Clyro – Stingin’ Belle

Scottish band with bagpipe solo. Right…


Patrick St. Michel: “You think you’re cool/like a porcupine.” I almost didn’t finish the song because that line left me so flustered I spent a good five minute entering “porcupine cool” into various search engines. Glad I stopped reading porcupine-fact pages and returned to the song, though, because the extended outro was nice.

Mallory O’Donnell: The last 1:09 is unexpected, an interestingly-enough rendered high school indie-prog breakdown that it might redeem almost any radio pop song. Sadly, not this one.

Anthony Easton: I love the clarity, and the ambition of the last minute-and-a-bit of this, and I love how it sounds almost martial. The rest is elegant, but the roar and paw of the last minute is a lion to the first half’s pussycat. 

Iain Mew: Via a bewildering path involving Busted, Matt Cardle and a breakthrough with one of the worst songs ever, Biffy Clyro have somehow managed to become one of the UK’s most successful rock bands with almost all of their knotty awkwardness still intact. So “Stingin’ Belle” follows an affable folksy singalong with a brief bit of blistering heaviness and then a stadium rock bagpipe solo, and it’s both great and not all that surprising. The only reason the mark isn’t any higher is because I never want to hear them singing in as undisguised a way about relationships again if these lyrics are anything to go by.

Jonathan Bogart: Is this still happening?

Alfred Soto: The riffy intro is purest Audioslave until the singing brings Foo Fighters into the picture. The rest doesn’t remind me of anything at all.

Edward Okulicz: Having already made the best Foo Fighters single of the ’00s (“Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies“), the Biff take on Dave Grohl’s guest slots in making the verses of this sound like Queens of the Stone Age’s “No One Knows.” And then make it folksy. It doesn’t quite work. And then for some reason, bagpipes, and it’s charming and dorky. The tune’s not one of their better ones, but chugging along manfully has done pretty well for them so far.

Brad Shoup: Bookended with surprising touches: the metal breakdown-as-intro (which meshes nicely with the architecture of the verses) and the bagpipe bit to close. Neither section strikes as particularly gimmicky, and in between you’ve got something like the Late Show with Craig Ferguson theme. Shame about the worst motivational couplet of the year (“Grow some balls/And speak your mind”), but the fretwork trumps.

Will Adams: The metalhead opening is terribly misleading and the payoff, in the form of a rock opera chorus, doesn’t quite salve the wound.

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