Biffy Clyro is back and is not letting a pandemic keep it down. Or at least too far down.
The Scottish trio releases its eighth album, "A Celebration of Endings," on Friday, Aug. 14. It reunites the troupe with producer Rich Costey, who helmed its 2016 album "Elipsis," and the group has already made some noise with the timely titled single "Instant History."
Plans for a supporting tour were blown out by the COVID-19 pandemic, of course, but Biffy Clyro will be online with a virtual concert Saturday, Aug. 15, from the celebrated Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow...
• Drummer Ben Johnston, who co-founded Biffy Clyro during 1995 with his twin brother, James, on bass and frontman Simon Neil, acknowledges by phone that it's an odd time to be releasing something new. "You would never choose to release an album during a pandemic, because touring an album, that's what makes it breathe, having that connection with people. And we can't do that. So it's been really frustrating. We had to postpone it (from May), but I think people are ready for the album. I think it's quite a positive album, which is helpful for people in this time of need. So it's important to get it out there and we just can't wait for people to find and hear it."
• Johnston, 40, says the album was created "organically" and wound up being what he considers "kind of an amalgamation of things we've learned over our previous seven studio albums. We've managed to put everything together, and it's a progression from our earlier stuff. I feel that for an eighth album from a band, it's really vital."
• The songs on "A Celebration of Endings" are "more outward looking than we've ever had, certainly politically," according to Johnston. And those, and even the title, have taken on different and deeper meanings amidst the pandemic and global waves of social unrest. "(The title) actually came from the end of a couple personal/business relationships that ended after 20 years...But so many things have happened since we finished the album, it's mind-blowing. I mean, releasing a song called 'Instant History' as we're going through instant history...I can't stop thinking that Simon's clairvoyant or something because his lyrics are so perfect to so many things that have happened."
• While it will be strange to perform without an audience , Johnston says Biffy Clyro will make most of its circumstances for the streaming concert. "I'll have four drum kits that are around the venue that I'll use in different parts of the set. Simon gets to run all around the place; At some point he even leaves the building. We're doing some songs in the dressing room. We've spent a lot of time and effort on it to make it the most special thing we can since there's now tour now, and that's killing us. So we put all our effort into this, and it's going to be quite an experience.
• This year marks 25 years since Johnston and Neil met as teenagers, later bringing in James, though Biffy Clyro's first album wouldn't come out until 2002. "It does not feel like 25 years," Johnston says. "It feels a lot shorter. I still feel like I'm 16 or something. We all feel that way. We're still best friends and best mates, and we're lucky to have gone to countries playing music to people, and just extremely grateful. And so much has happened. It's been a whirlwind. I wish I could've slowed it all down to take it in a little more."
Biffy Clyro will play its entire new album, "A Celebration of Endings," from Glasgow, Scotland at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15 via YouTube. Tickets are $20 and available via biffyclyro.com/livestream.
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