The music world’s favorite Sheffield blokes, the Arctic Monkeys, make an intriguing return to the playing field with untitled fourth album teaser “Brick By Brick”, a stormy, ’70’s fuzz rock-inspired romp that has caught many of their listeners’ by surprise, leading to some belief that the Monks could possibly be on the verge of their first major output disappointment.
The hesitance of those voices’ in embracing the new cut and the “new direction” it hints at is understandable. While you can somewhat tie-in “Brick By Brick”‘s sludgy riff theatrics to the dark and heavy Josh Homme-helmed productions of AM’s most recent release, ’09’s Humbug, if you hadn’t known this was a Monkeys’ record, few would have guessed it as such: The lazy lyrics (“I wanna build you up (brick by brick)/ I wanna break you down (brick by brick)…”) bear nary a trace of Alex Turner’s usually brilliant songwriting, and Turner isn’t even the main voice here (drummer Matt Helders provides the lead vocals).
But even if it doesn’t stick to the expected Arctic formula, “Brick By Brick” is no doubt an exciting jam, the combined force of its fiery retro rawk slam, those killer riffs and exclamatory cries of “I wanna rock and roll!!” bringing about an addicting, youthful abandon raucousness that’s entirely welcome as a simple “back to basics” exercise to highlight the band’s sharp musical talents.
Would an entire album of songs like these be the most ideal way for the Monkeys to go? No, Turner’s way with words is far too golden to be tossed aside, but as a one-off album cut or B-side, “Brick By Brick” gets the job done (and by job, we mean giving us something to giddily air-guitar and goofily bob around to within our daily A.M. “getting ready for work” routine).