London-via-Belfast production duo Bicep has proven itself to be more than capable of churning out classically minded dancefloor stunners—its sultry 2012 single "$tripper" perfectly paired a carefree, blissful attitude with an old-school Jersey garage sound, while "Vision of Love" exhubertantly channeled the spirit of '90s diva-house anthems. More recently, the pair has collaborated with Simian Mobile Disco on the melody-driven "Sacrifice" and dropped the diverse Stash EP. Now, Bicep has delivered Satisfy, a similarly varied three-track release for via its own Feel My Bicep imprint. According to the producers themselves, the record finds them taking a darker, more synth-oriented approach.
Dark is certainly an apt descriptor, though each track chooses to play in the shadows in a unique way. "Satisfy" gets things going at a quick 130 bpm and sees Bicep pairing a subby, four-on-the-floor kick and deftly reverbed breakbeats with an upfront diva vocal snippet and, most tellingly, a minor-key synth chord progression that gives the track a melancholic feel. The mood shifts with the entrance of a very retro-flavored Italo synth line that reveals more melodicism than we've seen from the pair in the past. Both "Snackbar" and "The Final Trip" hover around 125 bpm, but the songs take opposite approaches when it comes to injecting keyboards into their compositions. The former works a tough hi-hat groove into a frenzy, eventually supplementing it with crisp tambourine, familiar chopped vocals, and a gritty house organ riff, while the latter uses a frigid lead synth line and a growling bass pad to show that Bicep can do more than just recreate well-loved house tropes.