Bicep
Bicep


3.5
great

Review

by minimus123 USER (7 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2017 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Selected Bicep Works Vol.1

Bicep have developed quite a following in the UK. Likely owing to the quality of their live set – an onslaught of house and techno beats that devastate any venue bearing witness. Or perhaps it’s because they physically paste their emblem around the festivals and clubs they play, allowing chemically impaired ravers to innately soak up who’s performing; rather than trying to recall next day the DJ’s that impressed out of a blurry mash of setlists and faces. For whatever reason, Bicep’s recent bout of shows have done them a lot of favours. Now with their self-titled debut album, the Dublin duo seek to woo dance music maniacs in the comfort of their own dwellings as well as the dancefloor. They could have easily whacked out a collection of solid house beats, such as their past efforts, to little complaint – but they haven’t. Instead, Bicep have pushed the boundaries of themselves and the music they love, delivering a stunning and innovative electronic soundscape with Bicep.

Immediately with the opening dull chimes of intro track, “Orca”, it’s apparent that an Aphex Twin influence is present on Bicep. The seeping textures, drawn out basses, and glitchy melodies that form the lifeblood of each track repeatedly invoke this semblance. On “Opal”, the pinpoint manipulation of the synths imagine an attention to detail akin to an early Richard D. James hunched and sweating over his archaic electronics. Still, Bicep prove to be far from a tribute act, carving out their own brand of deep ambience and intricate melody.

The melodies on Bicep – often huge multi-layered constructions – render a unique energy onto the tracks that no beat alone can provide. The lead synth on “Kites” is fast-paced and rich in tone, allowing the track to soar as high as its name suggests. The flawless “Aura” is perhaps the best lesson in electronic melody however – anchored around a perfectly pitched lead synth that repeatedly builds up and crashes out like a glittering game of snake. Bicep have always shown they can string together effective melodies, but never have they shown such experimentation and complexity like they do on this record.

The melodious sheen that dominates Bicep can grow tiresome. Luckily the Dublin twosome make inroads into other electronic territories. On “Vale”, they swap out the gilded synths for buzzsaw blasts of static. The finished product comes with an unfiltered vocal lead, providing a much needed organic, almost electro-rock, repose from the techno bombast. With more minimal “Ayaya”, Bicep bring their ambient tendencies to the forefront. Here, the drops often revert to a lone bass swath, so satisfying in subtlety that it instils an exhilaration equalling the albums more electric moments.

With previous studio work, and at their live shows, Bicep often rely on a punchy trademark techno kick beat to conjure the energy. However, on Bicep the duo have ventured out with the opposite. The beats lack that impact, but in return, they complement the smoother sound of the album nicely. Rarely do they conform to the 1-2-1-2 house patterning either. Such as with “Glue” – a track I’d describe as “space-age garage” – where the percussion has an off-beat echo to it, ensuring the poignancy of the tribal vocals and angelic textures is felt.

Bicep isn’t as toned as the duo would like however. Percussion-less “Drift” fails to generate the suspense it sets out to accomplish, and “Spring” seems misjudged – a jarring mix of sounds failing to gel that drags on for almost 7 minutes. Aside from these minor blemishes, Bicep have delivered a project worthy of the Ninja Tune name – a stellar slab of electronica that is sure to tantalise brain lobes in addition to limbs. I encourage all to see Bicep live as they put on a phenomenal show (if i remember correctly). And with an atmosphere to match, the inclusion of these new tracks will sure transform their mixes into something magical.



Recent reviews by this author
Kamiyada Kill The Space GodRapsody Laila's Wisdom
Mick Jenkins The Healing ComponentVic Mensa The Autobiography
Tyler, the Creator Flower BoyDenzel Curry 13
user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
minimus123
September 22nd 2017


89 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First attempt at anything electronic (and out of hip-hop for that matter) so any criticism is appreciated.

Evokaphile
September 22nd 2017


6478 Comments


"house and techno beats that devastate any venue bearing witness"

Are house and techno even capable of such a thing I mean really

Digging: Woe - Hope Attrition

Chortles
September 23rd 2017


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^could be seen as a tad hyperbolic (and it would for any genre tbh) but lol don't be dumb dude



So glad to see this covered, great review! I really like the way you describe individual songs here, you make it easy to get a sense for the aesthetic they present. One thing I noticed, if I'm reading correctly, I think the first two sentences could be combined? With the phrasing you use the second seems incomplete.



Anyway, album is fantastic and has been a mainstay in my car for the last several weeks.. really hoping to catch them live soon

Digging: Burger / Ink - Las Vegas

minimus123
September 23rd 2017


89 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I guess it does seem a bit O.T.T. lol. But I do remember their set being surprisingly intense.



Cheers man I appreciate it. Yeah those sentences could definetly be combined haha. I always pull a few hairs out over my intros.

Zeneren
September 26th 2017


975 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No that's definitely an accurate way to describe Bicep's live show. They are intense af

zakalwe
November 16th 2017


23714 Comments


Fuck me this is the tits. Beat for the belly, rhythm for the soul.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

Chortles
November 17th 2017


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

absolutely. glue is up there for song of the year in my book



can confirm about their live show now too, just stellar

sixdegrees
November 17th 2017


2069 Comments


swole?

Digging: Angrywank - Frylock's Revenge

Chortles
November 17th 2017


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

flex baby

sixdegrees
November 17th 2017


2069 Comments


whoa look at that

zakalwe
November 17th 2017


23714 Comments


Album is monumental!!!

I nearly shed a tear at how good Glue is.

Relinquished
November 17th 2017


36759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

right on zak

jtswope
November 17th 2017


5684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glue is indeed incredible.

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2017


11569 Comments


Glue is great for sure.

JesusCage
December 13th 2017


197 Comments


I nearly shed a tear at how good Glue is.
Glue is indeed incredible.
Glue is great for sure.

x2



bloc
December 13th 2017


45272 Comments


23" bro, try and beat that

Digging: Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy