Double albums offer plenty of pitfalls and this one has all the hallmarks of a grand rock’n’roll folly: the cover is a metaphorical mindfuck by Pink Floyd sleeve designers Hipgnosis (a wind-blown tree with glass bones dangling from its branches); both discs have their own separate titles (CD1 – The Sand At The Core Of our Bones, CD2 – The Land At The End Of Our Toes); and it was recorded over five months with the aid of California’s finest medicinal plant-life.
However, rather than indulgence, Opposites proves itself to be that rare commodity in current rock – a bona fide, big, stadium-pleasing epic. And yes, that does mean the band’s staccato guitar chops and Simon Neil’s obtuse lyrical angst now come with orchestral strings (and on the magnificent Spanish Radio, a mariachi band), but it’s not at the expense of taught arrangements, energy or melody.
Instant hits abound – Black Chandelier, Stingin’ Belle – but there are also songs that only reveal their hooks after a dozen or so plays. In short, a proper rock record you’ll want to live with rather than toss aside after a couple of plays, and a cover worthy of rolling a Camberwell Carrot on.