Bicep - Isles
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2021 Ratings: #216 / 508
User Score
Based on 595 ratings
2021 Ratings: #430
Liked by 23 people
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God Is in the TV
A ride that is certainly “a snap-shot in time” and one that appears influenced by the pandemic, whilst never picking up its negativity. If you’re going to take one journey this year that won’t compromise the authorities’ “Stay-at-home” directive, then please make it this one.
Spectrum Culture

Isles captures the dark moment we’re living in, but those subtle hints of better things to come feel like early glimmers of light and hope.


The DJ-producer duo’s introspective yet hard-hitting second album shows just how affecting dance music can be, even (or perhaps especially) right now.

Loud and Quiet

When you’ve perfected electronic melancholy as effortlessly as they have, you earn the right to bathe in its bittersweet beauty, and Isles is another masterclass in musing over moments you didn’t even know you’d missed.


It’s a brilliant pick me up, a dazzling set of songs that tap into our innermost impulses. A colourful way to remember those good times, and one that is perfectly prepared for our eventual return to the dance floor.


Gilt-edged club-leaning sounds that move both body and soul.


The layered and intricate soundscapes that embody Isles are testament to the vast and diverse musical influences that Ferguson and McBriar have explored and savoured over the years. Bittersweet and introspective, yet hopeful and spellbinding.


Bicep's sophomore release Isles is much more grown-up and conflicted. However, this is not to the detriment of their characteristic eclectic abandon.


Isles is an album that, with its paradoxical layers of complexity, not only calls for multiple and detailed listens, but rewards attentiveness.


It’s both a comfort and a lament. Never overstaying its welcome, and always intriguingly structured.

The Guardian

Isles’s melodies are lush or wistfully melancholic, but the beats are too tough and driving for its contents to be mistaken for something you’d play at a dinner party.

The Arts Desk

The album is graced with variety, each track with a character of its own. There are plenty of superfeelgood moments, when the music alone produces a growing sense of unfolding bliss, that some would call ecstasy.

Evening Standard

Sounds are layered on top of each other in absorbing style – melancholy, not euphoric, but still brimming with restless energy. One day we’ll hear these songs as they should truly be experienced, but this will do very nicely for now.

The Independent

Isles invites you to close your eyes and let your alpha waves throw their own shapes.

Bicep display a range of colorful and ambient elements within their new album. Having been only the second album in, they know how to convey a strong sense of character with knowing exctly how they want to sound.
Beats Per Minute

Isles is a headphones record as colourful as its artwork, and should be enjoyed to the fullest on its own terms, the work of an act in constant flux who refuse to rest on their laurels.


While it can seem a bit formulaic over the course of an album, their consistency largely works to their benefit, and Isles sports several undeniable highlights.


This handsome sequel stays mostly within their comfort zone of melodic, propulsive dance-pop tailored both to clubs and home listening, an impressive balancing act even if the formula sometimes feels over- polished.


Inspired by their relocation to London and its cultural diversity, their second outing, Isles, offers a slicker, more ambitious version of their debut — more layers, more vocals, more focus, and crisper, harder-hitting production.


With dancefloors gone dark, the Northern Irish DJs tailor their second album to homebound listeners, but their indoor voices don’t command the same attention as their main-stage belters.

Crack Magazine

Nearly every track feels like it’s been tailor-made to elicit some quasi-religious exaltation from a crowd when dropped as the final track at Printworks or during a festival headline set.

The Needle Drop

As agreeable as Isles mostly is, it lacks the color and texture of its predecessor.

For me, there really couldn't have been a better time for this record to come out.
I've recently been getting heavily into more electronic music, especially with the legendary Aphex Twin. I'm doing this for two reasons: I am taking inspiration for my own work and I just absolutely love this kind of music. Now, of course, I'm not comparing Bicep to Aphex Twin. You can't really compare Aphex Twin with anything... anyway, I'm losing my pathing here.

"Isles" by Bicep is an absolutely ... read more
Atmospheric vocals over a futuristic beat, the album.

I never heard of Bicep. Hell, i didn't even know how Future Garage sounds like. It kinda sounds like what i imagined, but roughly so. Anyways, i thought this was a solid electronic album, but it lacked a lot of what could've attracted me more to it. I can definetly understand, maybe somebody that is just trying to learn how to build this kind of production and get better at their own music, but as far as usual music listeners, i don't think ... read more
At the risk of sounding like an absolute nerd, this entire album feels like an intergalactic adventure of the ages.

Bicep goes further into the rabbit-hole and truly emphasises the "future" part of "future garage". Not only do we have some of the most blissful and enthralling melodies I've heard in the genre with the STELLAR singles, "Atlas" & "Saku". We also have a generally more refined album experience than their debut, as Bicep keep it down to ... read more
Repetitive, bland and boring, that's all that really needs to be said about 'Isles' if I'm being honest.
Very spacey and wonderfully crafted electronic bangers, which have such a perfectly crafted atmosphere and structure that it screams of a duo who are in their creative prime, making songs like this seem effortless.
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Added on: October 6, 2020