Dec 31, 2021

Top ten best electronic music albums of 2021: Bicep – Isles

Fat Roland's Best Electronic Music Albums of 2021 presents another brilliant album:

Bicep – Isles (Ninja Tune)

It's time for my top ten countdown of the bestest best electronic music albums of 2021. Apart from the number one album, the top ten will be in alphabetical order by artist. Let's start with B for Bicep.

Respected author of the uncanny Nicholas Royle has a problem with this Belfast DJing duo's name. Back in 2017, I posted a link to one of their videos, commenting "it'll cheer your weekend up good and proper". Royle, who writes and edits books so knows how to do words good, said he was uncheered by the fact the band should know the word is "biceps" not "bicep". You can't have one bicep.

What followed was a light-hearted exchange in which Bicep, the band, jokingly promised Royle that they would address their dictionary-unfriendly name in the liner notes of their second album. Extra points to the author for his "Good strong response, Bicep" quip. Biceps? Strong? Ah suit yerself.

Here we are in December 2021, and Bicep have released their second album Isles. What does it contain? Drizzles of melancholic electronica, punchy beats filed to within an inch of their life, ear-popping vocal samples, and a nostalgic trip through every sheeny techno beat that's ever been created. Its a Bonobo fixed up and looking even sharper. A tribute to the unity of club culture, full of portent and scrumptious chords.

What's noticeably absent is a written explanation to Mr Royle, in full legalese, about their improbable name. Perhaps we'll never know what a bicep is. I admit, this did all happen more than four years ago: I put it down to bad muscle memory. 

This is part of a series of the Best Electronic Music Albums of 2021. Read it all here.

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