On May 25, Biffy Clyro’s first all-acoustic album is to be released, and on May 26, the MTV Unplugged performance that spawned it will be broadcast worldwide on MTV Live. (It will also be on the channel’s rotation five times during the following week.) What a way to celebrate the warm weather, kick off Memorial Day weekend, and honor the band’s 23rd Anniversary!
Biffy concerts are known for being literally and figuratively explosive, filled with energy and powerhouse talent, as were Nirvana and Pearl Jam’s — of whose MTV Unplugged specials have become legendary in their own right. Biffy Clyro is joining the likes of those Seattle grunge icons with their very own MTV Unplugged set, thanks to the U.K. revival of the series. The Scottish rockers took their shot at the show and blew everyone out of the water, so it’s imperative that you take a listen as soon as it’s available to buy or view.
This may not be the alternative rock band’s first live album, but it is the first one with a completely acoustic setlist and a soon-to-be iconic Beach Boys cover. Yes, you read that right. The Scottish alternative rock stars that are Biffy Clyro covered the ‘60s American surf rockers hit “God Only Knows” and it was fantastic. As a Beach Boys fan myself, I was leery to hear their take on a song that so many people adore, but it was an honest, original interpretation; though I was glad that it kept that magic that only Brian Wilson himself could generate.
About midway through their set, the band introduced a brand new song that sadly falls just under three and half minutes. I never wanted it to end and I had it on repeat for quite a bit of time before I forced myself to move on from it. The song, “Different Kind of Love,” was an acoustic masterpiece, lyrically and instrumentally. Simon Neil’s voice soars and is reminiscent of early Biffy tracks — except an acoustic version of such.
The build-up to the opening track truly makes you feel like you right there in London, mixed in with the crowd, awaiting to hear amazing songs done in a simple, stripped down way by one of your favorite bands. The anticipation, the excitement, and the eagerness envelops you so that when the band does hit the stage and begin to perform “The Captain” (off of their fifth album, Only Revolutions), you are hit with a wave of joy that can only come from the experience of being a part of hearing live music. It is the most eloquent and stunning version of the originally more aggressive track “The Captain,” too, might I add.
I recognized early on in listening to this album that it included songs that not just fit the subdued, acoustic, unplugged theme, but were more dramatic and boisterous — and they clearly had to have a lot of thought put into their arrangement and live production. Acoustic sets might sound much simpler, but Biffy proved that the creation and performance of it takes hard work. But it was hard work that evidently paid off. MTV thought so, I think so, and I know that all Biffy Clyro fans will, too. It is a can’t miss album with a can’t miss opportunity to watch it all go down live for the renowned MTV Unplugged series the week of May 26.