Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Oh My My — Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle
Simply put, this album got me into songwriting. Before Biffy came along with Puzzle, I was a progressive metal enthusiast who only cared for playing as fast as humanly possible on his Flying V guitar (no regrets). I’ve always leaned towards a more aggressive style of music, probably because of my heavy music roots. However, Puzzle really opened me up to beautiful lyrics and sentiment in music.
This album marks a really tragic time in Simon Neil’s life, with the loss of his mother. And as tragic and this time must have been for him, it became the catalyst for writing music with real lyrical integrity and emotion. It’s so beautiful to see this shift in their song writing from a garage rock band who couldn’t give a shit, to a band that wore their heart on their sleeve and weren’t afraid to compose a beautiful ballad for a loved one (amongst a sea of self destructive heavy tunes).
Some of the lyrics on this album just blow me away. At times Simon has this really cryptic way for writing about situations, where at first you think, ‘wow, that’s a really weird but interesting lyric’ and when you look into what he’s really saying, it knocks you write off your feet. Other times he will just blatantly tell you how he feels.
One of my favourites is in ‘As Dust Dances’ where I feel like Simon is having a hard time understanding why we can fix so many illnesses, but just not the one that will help his mother: ‘There’s a man on the corner selling dozens of bones. Every type of bone except the one that I want’. Another favourite is in ‘Machines’ (In my top 5 best songs of all time): ‘I would dig a thousand holes to lay next to you, I would dig a thousand more if I needed to’. He really just puts himself out there on this album like he never had before.
The vocal delivery on Puzzle is nothing short of fucking incredible. There are some ridiculously beautiful tender moments, where Simon’s voice just drips with emotion, to the point that you really do want to cry with him. At other times you can tell just how angry he is through his imperfect pitch and just how recklessly he will sing a line with complete desperation and pleading.
These songs really come alive when you see the band in person. I’ve seen them four times now and it never gets old. I still get close to tears when they play songs from Puzzle and you can really see how much it means to the band. Every time I’ve seen them, Simon still plays ‘Machines’ completely acoustically. A beautiful moment he gets to still share with his mum.
Sydney producer and musician Oh My My’s new single ‘WOE, MY HEART’ is out now. Listwn below.