House duo Bicep announced their new album Isles for January 22, 2021 release via Ninja Tune. They also released a new single called “Apricots” and an official music video.
According to a press release, Bicep have been working on Isles the last couple of years with the intent to capture the experiences that have influenced them through sounds and emotions. One of the two, Matt McBriar, points out that the album will be a different experience when played live, “This is definitely the home listening version. The live version will be much, much harder”.
The Belfast natives spoke about 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” says 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.”
Andy Ferguson, the other half of the group, picked up where McBriar left off, “You’d enter the club and it would be people from both sides of the tracks and they’d be hugging. And the following week, they’d be with their mates rioting. It felt like the safest place, but on paper, it should have been the most dangerous.”
They’re calling “Apricots” the lead single, but the opening track, “Atlas,” released in March before the album was announced. It has been performing well critically.
“Apricots” primarily differs from “Atlas” in including a chopped up vocal sample loop as the focus. Energy builds throughout the track, propelled by tension as it teases synth swells. Both the timbre of the electronics and the habitual expectation for a climax give the song a sense of longing, and it only relieves it by dropping the vocals for the last minute as an alternate form of release.
The music video sets the atmosphere with shadows shifting on a close-up of a woman’s face alternating with plants swaying in a strong breeze. Various effects and the continuing wind and shadows add to the motion, the camera shakes, and flowers, rocks and shells start spinning around. The video returns to the woman and the plants once the vocal sample disappears.
Isles Track list:
- Saku (feat. Clara La San)
- X (feat. Clara La San)
- Rever (feat. Julia Kent)
- Hawk (feat. machìna)