Puzzle (14th Floor)
The pressure of expectation on a band is only really pressure if you don’t have the requisite songs to walk the walk. This, Biffy Clyro’s fourth album, walks the walk. The proggy edges that might have frightened the greater populace in the past remain intact but have been woven into tight, adrenalised anthemic rock songs. Much of this record was inspired lyrically by the death of singer Simon Neil’s mother, and while his grief is acute and explored with unflinching honesty, there are still flashes of hope among the anger and despair. Puzzle is the total package: it lays bare a band with a broken heart who continue to be sonically unpredictable while remaining wholly accessible and intuitively melodic. A bittersweet classic.