Here’s an obvious understatement: I am not the be-all and end-all arbiter of taste. I spent pretty much all night last night listening to the Gin Blossoms’ radiant, extremely glossy, jangle-pop masterpiece New Miserable Experience and marveled at how great it was, which probably wasn’t even a cool thing to do back in 1993 and is likely grounds for firing at any modern music magazine today. The Gin Blossoms never were, and never will be, cool. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not a high man on the totem pole when it comes to musical judgment. No one is, really, in my opinion. I like to think that I have a wide enough palate to enjoy a diverse array of artists and genres, but not everything is going to work for me. And that’s okay.
Why is this monologue relevant? Because the Northern Irish electronic duo of Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, better known as Bicep, have released a deluxe edition of their second studio album, Isles, that includes three new tracks, ‘Siena’, ‘Meli (I)’, and ‘Light’ — and I don’t like any of them.
Now, again, I feel the need to explain that although my job is to write about music, I don’t see myself as being an expert in every genre, or even most genres, or even really a single genre. Modern hip-hop, trailer park country, and most forms of techno or house music are waters that I casually wade into, but not fully submerge myself in. My goal is to always have an open mind when I sit down and listen to a new song. No judgment, no preconceived thoughts, just open ears and a concerted attempt to see why an artist made the decisions that they did.
There is nothing I find particularly offensive about the three new songs on Isles. In truth, there’s nothing particularly offensive I find on Isles at all and, with that, there’s nothing particularly offensive I find about Bicep on a whole. However, there is very little insightful commentary I can make about these songs, that album, or this duo. I find them blandly repetitive and derivative of better electronic music. I bet they sound great in a club flying on bad speed or cheap coke. If that sounds like your thing, then go ahead and dive in. But this is very clearly the shallow end for me.
Take a listen to the deluxe version of Isles down below.