With their latest release, Ellipsis, Scottish trio Biffy Clyro have lost some of their ease. The album doesn’t have the same subtle power that weaves through the brighter spots in the band’s discography and instead relies on clichéd metaphors and abrupt jumps in tone. Each of the 11 tracks could be from a different album, fighting against each other during transitions. Ellipsis breaks from the Biffy Clyro standard and the result is messy.

Gone is the very strange and kind of amazing energy and conviction of the “Saturday Superhouse”-era. In place of punchy, fast paced anthems of the mediocre are the elongated musings of sixteen-year-old suburbanites as relayed by Biffy Clyro. Instead of being a quirky set of solid tracks, Biffy Clyro seem to be having an identity crisis. Ellipsis doesn’t feel like their own, more like an album of covers.

On the opening track, “Wolves of Winter,” the mood shifts often and violently. Vocalist Simon Neil goes from singing lines from your middle school math class posters like, “Just remember, no I in team/There’s two in brilliant,” to referencing kingdoms of blood. The song is packed with strange transitions and odd sound effects that are jarring at best. This cacophony sets the tone for the rest of the album as the group delves deeper into themes of frenemies, being let down by literally everyone, technosexuality and more blood.

Ellipsis’ highlights come at the end and are, somewhat surprisingly, the album’s gentlest tracks. “Small Wishes” is a happy, lackadaisical tune that tackles universally truthful personal themes. The aggressive finger-pointing that tinges the lyrics in most other songs on Ellipsishere is replaced with lines that detail a stagnant life in plain language. There’s acceptance in each word that feels truer to a band of grown men than lyrics like, “you only fuck computers.”

Another bright spot is “Howl,” a catchy track about howling like an animal when you just don’t know what to say. It’s fun and a little weird and sounds like the Biffy Clyro of old. Not being able to adequately explain the stubbornness of your nature to your loved ones is rough. But instead of making “Howl” a dirge, they’ve crafted it more as something of a release. Neil actually howls throughout the three minutes and thirty-three seconds à la “Werewolves of London” and makes you want to howl right along with.

Unfortunately, the majority of the album is a forgettable blend of aggressive tracks centered around clichéd phrases and ballads that sound like they were written solely to break up said aggressive tracks. Even with “Small Wishes” and “Howl,” nothing on Ellipsis is striking in the way that Biffy Clyro songs so often have been in the past. Against their own standards, their latest just can’t stand on its own.

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