Published Aug 30, 2017UK producer/DJs Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar started as crate-digging bloggers who sent out regular transmissions of all kinds of electronic dance music at feelmybicep.com. Their debut, self-titled album is a smorgasbord, a far-reaching demonstration of their tastes that ranges from accessible house and techno to more niche sub-genres like IDM and jungle.
The first three tracks form a solid 15-minute arc for an energetic dance mix, with each track having a higher BPM than the last. The comedown, "Vespa," then offers a Boards of Canada-indebted interlude complete with robotic vocal samples and warbling, droning synths.
The middle section of the record shows a bit more experimentation in the alien synths of "Ayaya" and "Drift." "Opal" also has some oddly filtered drums, and a melody that feels tentative at first but blossoms emotionally in its second half. One slight misstep is "Ayr," a pretty but sluggish break between the epic "Rain" and the one vocal-led highlight, "Vale."
Bicep's wide-ranging tastes have given them a great grasp for melody, which is one thing all of these songs do well. While the record's strengths are the more upbeat, club-ready tracks, their experimental aspirations are admirable, too. As this record's structuring and array of sounds seem somewhat self-consciously thought out, we look forward to hearing them get even looser on their next outing. (Ninja Tune)