Bicep have become synonymous with a particularly emotive brand of electronic dance music down the years, and on the Belfast-born, London-based duo’s new LP Isles we find that sound in good nick once more. The album’s shimmering synths and buoyant beats transport you to the last dance of the night, or perhaps to the sun setting over a festival skyline, even as you enjoy them through headphones or hi-fi speakers.
Isles finds Bicep incorporating influences which range from old-school rave tunes to the tender, R&B-indebted sounds of post-dubstep. A single like ‘Apricots’ is an expert demonstration of how Bicep’s style is in dialogue with so many important eras of dance music’s history yet also remains distinctly their own. ‘Apricots’ features shuffling broken-beat drums which push the tune forward, the gently insistent groove providing a base from which the synths and vocal loops can build. It makes for hugely stirring listening, particularly when the ever-climbing synths reach their apex at the track’s climax. Other entries here may deliver some harder timbres - there are electro and trance influences lurking towards the back-end of Isles - but Bicep still find the emotional sweet-spot time and again across the course of the album.
With the Isles LP, Bicep have delivered some of their most moving electronic dance music productions to date.