Bicep – Bicep

Bicep's debut album is a clear front-runner for best house record of the year

Album Review by Claire Francis | 30 Aug 2017
  • Bicep – Bicep
Album title: Bicep
Artist: Bicep
Label: Ninja Tune
Release date: 1 Sep

Good things come to those who wait. Just shy of a decade on from the birth of the Feel My Bicep blog, Belfast-born duo Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson – now internationally acclaimed DJs, producers, label owners and live show extraordinaires – have finally released their first full-length record. Bicep are no strangers to the studio, having cemented their name with a stream of highly acclaimed, dancefloor ready EPs, but this album allows the pair space to explore a broader musical palette, to sublime effect.

The early 90s lens through which Bicep filtered their 2015 instant-classic EP Just reappears here, and becomes the album's constant frame of reference. With the sonic hallmarks of this period providing a nostalgic, emotive warmth that permeates the twelve track record, McBriar and Ferguson then set about weaving their unique Bicep signature over classic house music foundations. 

The final track, and lead single Aura – which has been doing the rounds online for some time now as 'Unreleased Bicep' – is Bicep at menacing, full club force. But this is a record dripping with standouts – the rumbling low-end, kick-laden Kites; the skittish funk beats that underpin 90s house throwback Spring; the mighty wave of gloomy synth lines that breaks into Orca's euphoric climax; or Glue's evolution from sparse breakbeat intro to cut-glass club anthem. An album that functions seamlessly as a listen-in-one-sitting affair, with enough memorable stand-alone moments to keep the club contingent happy, Bicep's debut is a clear front-runner for best house record of the year.

Listen to: Aura, Kites, Spring, Orca, Glue