Ninja Tune – 1st September

Facebook’s ‘The Identification of Music Group’ is a hub for music heads in search of track IDs. Essentially, the group is an encyclopaedia for electronic music. Each weekend, shaky ten second video clips of unknown records heard in the midst of the dance appear on the feed. Where Shazam and hopeful tweets to the DJ might fail, you can bet the IOMG will not.

As one of dance music’s most popular duos, Bicep are no stranger to this group. As the jaded awaken on a Saturday morning (afternoon), so come the barrage of video clips, later to be identified only as ‘unreleased Bicep’. That is, until now. Back in June Ninja Tune announced they were releasing the beloved Belfast boys’ debut self-titled LP. What followed was a string of hair raising festival shows, building up to the release of one of this year’s most highly anticipated albums.

Bicep are Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson, and, in short, their album is a glittering accomplishment. We’ve all come to love the sonic quality of that hair raising Bicep synth, and it’s that distinctive sound of theirs that shines throughout. It’s a celebration and a declaration of the breadth and depth of their immersion in underground club culture, simultaneously embracing the nostalgic and moving forward, all the while showcasing their slick production prowess    

The bright, hands in the air melodies of opener ‘Orca’, ‘Kites’ and closing track ‘Aura’ call to euphoric trance, and ‘Glue’ builds around breakbeat drum patterns; nostalgic and textured landscapes given a fresh Bicep flair. Elsewhere, the pair slow things down with cinematic chord progressions and lush undulating melodies in ‘Ayaya’, ‘Drift’ and ‘Ayr’. The off kilter drum work and gently building synth patterns of ‘Opal’ are of the same ilk as Four Tet and Daphni. Catchy female vocal riffs appear in eerie interlude ‘Vespa’ and the atmospheric and oscillating ‘Rain’, but it’s in Bicep’s veer into a more commercial realm in ‘Vale’ where the vocal shines, with a gorgeous feature from Rosie Lowe.

In Bicep, Matt and Andy have created a sublime record that’s as at home on the dancefloor as it is in your bedroom. Touching on all corners of electronic music, it’s a fitting tribute to their journey to this point. From humble beginnings almost a decade ago as they launched the Feel My Bicep blog, to selling out Village Underground in a matter of minutes and taking their breath taking live show to the likes of Glastonbury, Coachella and Primavera; Bicep are bigger and better than ever and show no signs of slowing.

Read our interview with Bicep.

Buy: Bicep – Bicep

Live: Electric Brixton, 11th November