Since they began in 1995, Scottish alt.rockers Biffy Clyro have gone from underground cult favourites to arena-smashing, X Factor Winner's Single-providing purveyors of some of the world's most-prized anthemic rock music. But while their latter era output is rightly celebrated, their earlier material often risks getting lost in the ether of their back catalogue.
Enter UK punks Gloo, whose mission statement today is to shine a light on the gloriously chaotic post-hardcore of Biffy's early days – a sound which has gone on to greatly influence their own – and point us towards the finest songs from the formative years of their career. Questions and answers? We've got 'em all below...
Toys, Toys, Toys, Choke, Toys, Toys, Toys, (The Vertigo Of Bliss, 2003)
Mark Harfield (drums): "This song was the soundtrack to my after school pool club, ha ha. It would play on repeat at full blast through the DVD player while me and my mates would play pool on some shitty Argos table built for five year olds. It was the first song I felt like I wanted to introduce people to – I would literally big it up to people at school all day, and invite them to pool club to so they could be equally amazed."
Glitter And Trauma (Infinity Land, 2004)
Simon Keet (bass): "I was lent a copy of Infinity Land at school, so this would have been the first Biffy song I’d heard. It sounded like three Scottish men landing on an industrial space colony, armed with a clean guitar tone. It was like nothing going on at the time (nothing that I was aware of, anyway) and took it to the next level."
57 (Blackened Sky, 2002)
Tom Harfield (guitar and lead vocals): "This is not necessarily one of my absolute favourites, but I couldn’t not include it as it was the first song that I ever heard from Biffy. The way the song merges heavy noise with pop changed the way I write and play music forever."
Now The Action Is On Fire! (The Vertigo Of Bliss, 2003)
Mark: "I first saw Biffy supporting Hundred Reasons at Portsmouth Pyramids Centre, and hadn’t much hear of them before. I think about roughly seven seconds in, I knew it was gonna be my jam. They ended on this track, and Simon Neil crowdsurfed out with the mic while the lights were going fucking mental. I knew instantly I had to start growing my hair and putting on a Scottish accent."
That Golden Rule (Only Revolutions, 2009)
Tom: "From the get go, this song just makes you want to lose your shit. This is the best of their newer stuff for me without a doubt – well, what I’d call their newer stuff (anything post Infinity Land). We’ve seen them live a lot as well and it’s just fucking mad, in the best way possible."
Buddy Holly (High Voltage!: A Brief History Of Rock, 2006)
Mark: "Still to this day, I have yet to hear a cover so drastically different from the original. I can’t remember how this came onto my radar, but I was completely losing my mind when I first heard it. It was like Weezer on drugs – and lots of ‘em! The pointlessness of most of the parts is just brilliant."
The Kids From Kibble And The Fist Of Light (Infinity Land, 2004)
Tom: "I don’t have a great memory from school, but one of the things I do remember is me and my friends, no shame, walking round school singing the outro bit at the top of our voices, ‘These strange explosions hit me, like a fist of light’ over and over. Wow, we must've been so cool..."
Eradicate The Doubt (The Vertigo Of Bliss, 2003)
Mark: "I played this to get into college with our main man Matt Walker on guitar, and needless to say the college tutors were fucking confused. I never managed to learn the drum fill at the end, but figured that the 40 year old blokes teaching ‘Sitting At The Dock Of The Bay’ on the daily woudn’t either, so I just Glooed it up and needless to say we got in.
There's No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake (Infinity Land, 2004)
Simon: "There are so many riffs out there that haven’t seen the light of day due to 'Nah, sounds too Biffy', and I think they are all alternate versions of Jaggy Snake. Saw ‘em play this at Isle Of Wight Festival with Tom (vocals) actually – I remember Simon Neil parading round the stage, playing up to 11 on the cool dial."
Joy.Discovery.Invention (Blackened Sky, 2002)
Mark: "After hearing 57 on Scuzz, I bought the album immediately. This being the opening track, it reminds me of how in awe of the timings and movement within one song I was (and still am!). I literally couldn’t believe how smoothly they could transition through keys and time signatures without you really noticing."
Get Fucked Stud (Puzzle, 2007)
Tom: "I’m definitely one for songs with swearing in, and when you couple that with great song writing and a whole lot of feeling, I just fucking love it. This is Biffy Clyro, for me, showing off their insane guitar and rhythm changes with a pop sensibility to the best of their abilities. Writing about these songs makes me want to see them ASAP so fucking bad, now. Shit. When are they next playing?"
Gloo's debut album, A Pathetic Youth, is released on July 6. Check out the video for single Holiday below: