Bicep — Bicep
This album was nowhere near my radar, but ended up being one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. An offhand recommendation from a friend resulted in my absolute obsession with this album for the better part of 2 weeks. I am a fan of a lot of types of electronic music, but the dance side of the spectrum has generally been unable to hold my interest for long — probably my aversion to actually dancing in any context.
Regardless, Bicep's self-titled album captured my attention immediately with their unique mix of Aphex Twin-like sound palettes and chiptune elements fused into straight-forward dance numbers. In spite of my general ignorance towards the club scene, it is really hard to listen to the material on this album and not feel compelled to dance — even just a little bit. Each track has its own unique sound to it, yet everything still flows together like a cohesive album.
Almost purely instrumental, this album features only a small handful of vocal samples scattered across the last 4 tracks. Overall, the album is perfectly paced and diverse enough that each song — while certainly sharing basic elements with the rest of the album — stands out on its own, and nothing feels like filler. My favourite tracks happen to be "Rain," "Vale" and "Aura," all of which are the best representatives of the group's overall style. "Aura" was the lead-off single from Bicep and is as infectious as any earworm could hope to be.
Groovy, exceptionally catchy and well crafted: that is how I would summarise this album. I expected very little from my first listening and was blown away by the replay value and overall quality Bicep imbued these songs with. This project's debut is the perfect middle-ground between club music and more general listening, and I have been unable to go more than 24 hours without spinning this album since acquiring it. Whether I am out for a long walk or burning away an afternoon gaming, Bicep have produced an excellent soundtrack to just about anything you could be doing.
I never expected to be this enthralled with an electronic record like this, as my tastes hew closer to the EBM and industrial ends of the genre. Bicep overcome this preconception of mine and produced one of the best electronic albums I've heard in a long time. I highly recommend this album to anyone even remotely curious, it is among my favourite releases of 2017 — it made that much of an impact.
Release date: September 1st, 2017
Record label: Independent
Andy Ferguson — music, production
Matt McBriar — music, production
Published: October 10th, 2017