Friday 4 March 2011

Arctic Monkeys' Brick By Brick: Showing Signs of Erosion?

So, a new Arctic Monkeys track appeared online within the past few hours, and it's a bit of an oddity. I was a huge fan of Humbug, which seemed a real maturation of their sound, taking in new ideas whilst retaining some sort of recognisable identity as the Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner's brilliant wordplay moved away from prostitutes hanging around Sheffield to dark, psychedelic circuses and not-so-subtle sexual metaphors (hello, 'My Propeller'), drawled in sultry, murky tones, whilst Josh Homme's fingerprints could be seen all over the desert-rock production values. It was a brave move, and one that really re-ignited my interest in the band, particularly as it seemed to be a proper album - a body of work which successfully captured where the band was and how their music sounded at that particular time. Exciting, too, was the transformation of Turner from Sheffield-lad-in-a-tracksuit from the Whatever You Think I Am... era to a bona-fide rockstar, clad in a leather jacket and sunglasses, regardless of the weather.

So, on to the new track. No-one yet knows if it's a new single, or even if it'll be on the new album at all. However if it is from a new album, it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the tracks end up sounding. The Arctic Monkeys have never yet done the same thing twice - the difference between Whatever You Think I Am... and Favourite Worst Nightmare is obviously less than the progression to Humbug, but none of their full-lengths could be accused of being particularly samey. Therefore it's to be expected that the band seem to have again evolved.

To be honest though, the track seems pretty weak, and a real step back from the rekindled promise of Humbug. Where that record oozed in mystique and high production whilst still retaining some massive melodic hooks and charm, 'Brick By Brick' has a bit of a Beatles '60s jangly rock'n'roll sound to it, which could have been a good move, but the lyrics are disappointingly bland and the catchy melodies are seemingly absent. At first, the vocals don't even seem to sound like Alex Turner - though Humbug was a record with predominantly American sensibilities, Turner's Northern English twang was always there at the forefront, reminding listeners of the bands roots. There's some decent guitar soloing on the track, but that's not really what you look for in an Arctic Monkeys track.

Who knows, maybe the rest of the new material can return some of the old magic and restore promise for the band. On this evidence though, there's a chance that Arctic Monkeys' fourth album could be the first real blip in their discography.


    can you feature this in your blog?

  2. I agree, this is a poor tune. When Alex sings 'brick by brick' muscially it is a complete rip off of kasabians 'I'm on Fire' Lyric, but done badly and without the catchy guitar to draw you in or the football chant esque singing of Tom (whatever he's called from Kasabian) to draw you in. Its like alex is begging us to accept him as a rocker by saying 'we can sound like Kassabian too look at us'. I love all the Arctic monkeys stuff, all their B sides EP's etc... but this is very very poor.

    The second half of Brick by Brick picks up a bit and sounds a little bit like some of the Doors later songs (a direction I would love them to go in) but it is too late by then. Lets hope this isnt on the album or even a Bside it is not worthy of it.

  3. "At first, the vocals don't even seem to sound like Alex Turner"

    That's because it isn't, Matt Helders sings most of the song.

  4. brick by brick is wonderful...i dont understand why you said real blip in their discography!!

    Brick by brick was in my opinion a very very good teaser...lets see how good will be suck and see, but i expect one of the best work made by them...

  5. Brick by brick is not wonderful man - it is repetitive, boring, and not what you want from Arctic Monkeys at all. I personally loved tracksuit-Alex that rambled about prostitutes, that said nowt a lot and described night outs and taxi-rides in Britain maily because of his depictions being so close to the truth and attentive to details - he is witty and clever with his wordplay. Humbug was a very interesting effort but I'm still crossing my fingers for a return to council-estate-dwelling monkeys.(congrats on blog, btw)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.