Bicep’s New Studio Album is Designed for Live Performance

Photo: Dan Medhurst

Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson will release Isles, their new album as Bicep, in January.

Two years in the making, Isles expands on the energy of the London pair’s 2017 debut, Bicep, while digging deeper into the sounds, experiences, and emotions that have influenced their work since. It references such things as the joy of discovering Hindi vocals and snatches of Bulgarian choirs drifting from passing cars, and it features Clara La San and cellist Julia Kent.

While the album is made for home, the tracks are designed to evolve in their different iterations from record to live show. The live version will be “much, much harder,” McBriar says.

Alongside the announcement, the pair have shared “Apricots,” which encapsulates the disparate influences across the release by sampling traditional Malawian singers, recorded by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey in 1958 and released via the label Beating Heart, and a 1950s performance by The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir. Steeped in a shimmering bath of warm synths, its spare percussion and arresting vocals bring the big room chills of ’90s rave, while evoking something lost or forlorn. The accompanying video, also released today, is directed by Mark Jenkin.

Earlier this year, McBriar and Ferguson released “Atlas,” which you can stream here and opens the album.

Tracklisting

01. Atlas
02. Cazenove
03. Apricots
04. Saku (feat. Clara La San)
05. Lido
06. X (feat. Clara La San)
07. Rever (feat. Julia Kent)
08. Sundial
09. Fir
10. Hawk (feat. machìna)

Isles LP will be released physically and digitally on January 22, 2021 via Ninja Tune. Meanwhile, you can stream “Apricots” below and pre-order here.

Artwork by Studio Degrau

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