Bicep - 'Isles'

8/10

When electronic duo Bicep released their self-titled debut album in 2017, it was preceded by a string of fresh and dynamic singles and EPs stretching back almost a decade. Which means that when it came time to release a studio album, they had already worked through a diverse and eclectic array of ideas before landing on how their first record should sound. But with this new collection, it has been almost radio silence for the pair, with these new offerings being their first since the last LP. Instantly making us feel that 'Isles' should be jam-packed with surprises and new ideas, and for the most part, that is exactly what we get.

While Bicep were known for cutting their teeth on the hard and pulsing techno sound of clubbing culture, their debut gave us the impression that there was more depth to their direction than we first thought, and 'Isles' now looks to continue that vision. Although it still keeps much of the broad and interesting direction that many of us know them for, there is this atmospheric and ethereal edge to their work now, focusing less on the dancefloor and more on everyday listening. It gives the record this incredibly accessible sound that looks to calm and warm just as much as it excites.

From the start, 'Isles' places itself on the more matured and well-rounded end of the electronic music spectrum, and pushes that inventive agenda throughout its 10-track run. It has this incredibly inviting texture to it and showcases those at the helm as one of the most captivating outfits working in the scene right now.

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