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Arctic Monkeys

"Brick By Brick"

[Domino; 2011]

By ; March 14, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Matt Helders’ singing has been in the mix to varying degrees over his career with Arctic Monkeys. When we actually got a good listen to his voice on its own with “Last Christmas” on the Humbug tour in 2009, it almost seemed a shame that it had been limited to shouting in the background to accompany Alex Turner’s distinctive, ever-deepening Yorkshire croon. “Brick by Brick” is the first glimpse we get of Suck it and See, and with it Helders proves he’s a little bit more than just one of indie rock’s best drummers. In addition to featuring his voice more than any previous Monkeys tune (which is quite good), it’s also quite likely that he wrote the lyrics. The track is bereft of Turner’s typical labyrinthine storytelling. Instead we get simplistic couplets, each punctuated with a rumbling “brick by brick.” For a band that we’ve come to expect a certain level of lyrical panache from, this comes as a bit of a disappointment.

Stylistically, the song is an impressive transformation from Humbug. The production is still slick, but the guitars aren’t as dense and the drumming is less obtuse. ‘Stoner rock’ is replaced by something a little cleaner and a little more accessible. Musically, the song delivers the goods, with tempo changes, tight instrumentation, and a plucky guitar solo. Reactions to the song will surely be mixed, not that the band has ever cared. If you don’t like it, please just refer yourself to the first half of the album’s title.


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