Single Review: The Mesmerising, Anthemic Beating Heart Of Bicep’s ‘Apricots’

Bicep | Apricots | Ninja Tune

Release Date: 6 October, 2020

‘Isles’ Album Release: 22nd January, 2021

Belfast-born, London based electronic duo Bicep have returned with their latest single ‘Apricots’ – a taste of what’s to come from their forthcoming album ‘Isles’, set to be released in January 2021.

Over the past decade of their career, the duo – made up of Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson – have caused tidal waves within the electronic music world; earning their stars as dynamic, vibrant music curators and skilled DJs under their instantly recognisable musical moniker.  

Bicep are known for drawing from a plethora of influences, crafting a unique, luminous presence as they’ve carved a beloved name for themselves within the music realm, releasing works that are ever eccentric, new and refreshing – with their writing and production skills shining through specifically with their first official (self-titled) album debut back in 2017 after signing to Ninja Tune.

Since then, fans have waited eagerly for their next full album release – which we are highly anticipating, and judging by their previous single ‘Atlas’ and now ‘Apricots’ – January 2021 feels way too far away, as we look forward to what the duo is going to present us with next.

Describing ‘Isles’ as a “snapshot in time”, the duo shared their intention regarding the album title:

We have strong mixed emotions, connected to growing up on an island..wanting to leave, wanting to return…

It’s always been an unquantifiable topic for us – shares McBriar – We’re not religious, but we’re both from different religious backgrounds. There was always a lot of interest in us talking about those issues, but we always felt that one of the things we loved about dance music was that freedom it gave you to be released from talking about those things.

Opening with a powerful, pounding beat and touches of glitch; the anthemic atmosphere of ‘Apricots’ is set up from the very start, as the duo have incorporated samples of traditional Malawian singers into a growing, gradually flourishing soundscape. The vocal samples, originally released in 1958 via Beating Heart; a label whose profits are allocated toward the conversation of the International Library of African Music – sing rosy and buoyant, teeming with strength as they accompany the slowly blooming electronics.

A lavish synthesizer rich atmosphere blossoms with a feeling a nostalgia, yet remains highly danceable as layers of timbres and textural bliss rises and falls with emotion, working in tandem with a 1950’s performance by The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir in a mesmerising and truly hypnotic fashion. As the track comes to its close, the theatrical nature of the climax can easily be seen as a dance floor anthem – with a unique, personal touch.

Pre-order Isles: Stream & Purchase Apricots by Bicep
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Rating: 7.5 / 10

Feature Image: Bicep by Dan Medhurst