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Essential Listening: Bicep

Jemima Skala | Features & Interviews

Bicep have made themselves stalwarts of the UK club scene; with a steady drip stream of EPs since 2010, the Belfast duo have just released their first LP, and continue to smash out some truly wonderful floor fillers. With such an impressive back catalogue, we have sifted through their discography to bring you the best of the best of Bicep: and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

“Aura” is the lead single from Bicep’s latest self-titled debut album and it doesn’t take a genius to guess why they chose this track to introduce their creation to the world. Right from the off, we’re away, swept up by shakers and filtered bass drums before being taken in by the synth lines that cross each other mid-flight. “Aura” is certainly a good inroad for any Bicep newcomers, and showcases exactly what they’re about: groovy, danceable bangers.

Boasting an impressive 5m plays on Spotify, this track demonstrates Bicep’s versatility. They bend their unmistakable Bicep-ness over an unrelenting breakbeat, letting the melodies carry themselves; they know when to drop in and out, when to let the music do the talking. The nonchalant sample that dips in and out lends a too-cool-for-school vibe to the whole affair. Perfect for sticking on at pres and getting the gang warmed up for the night ahead.

“Snackbar” is the second track off Bicep’s 2013 Satisfy EP, but just because it was relegated to the B-side doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. Far from it: “Snackbar” shows Bicep off for the tastemakers they truly are. It’s hard to believe that this track came out in 2013 when the drum has definite hints of Stacy Kidd’s “Motherfucker”, and wouldn’t have been out of place at the Paradise Garage back in the day.

Sacrifice – Simian Mobile Disco 
This track is essential if only for demonstrating the long-standing symbiotic relationship between Simian Mobile Disco and Bicep. Simian Mobile Disco did guest mixes for the first incarnation of Bicep as the music blog Feel My Bicep, and “Sacrifice” was released on SMD’s label Delicacies. This track feels a lot more stripped back than any other Bicep tunes, and it lends itself well to gaining a fuller picture of their capabilities as producers and DJs; they’re equally as happy letting every instrument speak at once as they are letting each element speak for itself at its own pace and time.

Another one from the recent LP, “Glue” soars. The opening fools you into thinking it will be unrelenting and taxing, but it offers up so much more release than expected. The chords that lie underneath are subliminally breezy, meaning the tune would be equally as appropriate whether you were hearing it lying on your bedroom floor through headphones or through a sound system at a house party. The gradually built up harmonies in the main synth line are the key to this track, offering release and escape, promising to take you somewhere new but not quite letting on where.

As busy as ever, Bicep take to a variety of festivals this summer with Parklife, Hideout, Lost & Found, Lovebox, Leeds Festival and Terminal V all on their hit list.

Photo courtesy of Bicep

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Essential Listening: Bicep

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