Album Of The Week: Biig Piig – Bubblegum

Jessica Smyth brings an open mind and an assured ear to our pick of the week's new releases

Sift through the sizeable string of singles released by Irish artist Biig Piig over the last few years and you’ll open doors into rooms of many vibes. Jazzy, lo-fi hip hop. Smooth and summery groove and breezy disco. Drum‘n’bass influenced post-punk — or is that post-punk influenced drum‘n’bass?

Maybe it’s this eclecticism that lead Jessica Smyth to lean towards the more open-ended concept of a mixtape with the release of Bubblegum, just about her longest release yet. Wherever it came from, it speaks volumes to Gen Z’s continually open-minded approach to genre (or lack of it).

Biig Piig - Picking Up (Official Video) ft. Deb Never

The 25-year-old clearly thrives in this open space, having maintained the early buzz that grew as she emerged from London’s Nine8 Collective to make a name for herself in 2018 with her debut EP Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol. 1. On Bubblegum, Smyth continues to sound both fresh and self-assured, astutely tuned in to successful ends of pop while holding on to a level of edge and subtlety. It’s this balance that gives the release it’s namesake, she says: “Bubblegum is sweet and nice to look at, but it’s sticky. I like the innocence, but was drawn to the texture — balloony, elastic, stretchy. And it bursts, too. That’s what the tape felt like”.

Biig Piig - Kerosene (Live)

Lead single ‘Kerosene’ is a shining example, with sweet, high-pitched gasps falling into a hypnotic, late-night floor-filler with the low, warbled focus of deep house and the off-kilter strings of an old and damaged disco vinyl.

Elsewhere, while dance tropes drift from liquid to breaks and textures seam from bedroom beats to indie instrumentation, the tone seems a little more reflective, if not lonely. “I’m in a daze,” she admits on ‘Picking Up’, “Been twenty-three days/ Stuck in a phase”. And yet, as we find out on the galvanising closer ‘In The Dark’, the 25-year-old “Found my home here in the dark”. The guitars pick and the drums shuffle on, and Biig Piig lifts her head and continues to walk towards whatever greatness she no doubt finds next.

Biig Piig is heading on a UK tour March 2023. Tickets available here.