Well that was something unexpected for the weekend. Just as we were clocking off in the NME office last night, a chance look at ArcticMonkeys.com revealed a brand new track ‘Brick By Brick’, complete with new video, presumably from the band’s next album.
It’s an impressive move, not just because they managed to keep it under wraps, but because Alex Turner and co only returned from recording in Los Angeles a matter of weeks ago. Clearly sessions with regular producer, Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, have been going well as not only have Arctic Monkeys started mixing their Californian efforts already, but ‘Brick By Brick’ was released without a single word of explanation.
No caveats of ‘more to come’, no blatant attempt to get us all to sign up to their database and no word when the follow-up to ‘Humbug’ (or indeed any other music) can be expected. It truly is a stand-alone release for now and that suggests they’re confident after their sessions in Hollywood.
Obviously the Monkeys aren’t going to release their A-game comeback single in this manner, so it’s probably only fair to judge ‘Brick By Brick’ as something of a teaser or album track from the band’s fourth studio effort. That said, personally I think it’s very encouraging.
With its stomping bass, slashing guitar riff, glam harmonies – not to mention the golden-lit suburban frontroom and vintage record player in the video – there’s a real ’70s feel to the track.
And while it’s the poppiest thing the band have done in a while, the beefed-up rock n roll fuzz that was discovered on the unfairly maligned ‘Humbug’ has not been surrendered, suggesting that the band have managed to combine both sides of their personality, via bit of Bowie and Bolan, for the forthcoming record… or not.
If ever there was a band who would put out a song on the eve of a major release that was entirely unrelated to the following album it would be this one – they have the deliciously wicked sense of humour for it.
However I don’t think it’s the case this time, mainly because of ‘Brick By Brick’’s video.
If you watch towards the end, the high end Life On Mars-esque video gives way to raw Super-8 footage of the band in the studio, while the camera lingers on a vinyl cutting machine, which seems to imply ‘we can release it as soon as we record it’.
It seems Radiohead are not alone with the surprise releases this year.