Recorded at Smart Studios, Madison, Wisconsin and Sound City, Van Nuys, California.
After two well-received albums for revered indie labels (Epitaph and Sub Pop), the all-female rock group L7 signed with Reprise Records amidst the grunge boom of the early 1990s. The band's major-label debut, BRICKS ARE HEAVY, finds the Los Angeles-based quartet running with its newfound opportunity, and enlisting Nirvana producer Butch Vig (later of Garbage) to shape its punk-influenced "riot grrl" aesthetic into a bigger, more formidable sound.
While previous L7 outings had a charming DIY vibe, BRICKS ARE HEAVY lived up to its title, presenting weighty, surging, guitar-laden tunes such as "Scrap" and "Everglade." The disc's standout track, though, proved to be "Pretend We're Dead," a minor hit that boasted a glam-rock riff, a supremely catchy chorus, and the no-frills vocals of guitarists Suzi Gardner and Donita Sparks, evoking rough-and-tumble precursors the Runaways. Although L7 released a number of records after BRICKS, none of them fared as well critically or commercially, making this album the clearly marked peak of the band's career.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.52) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (9/17/92, p.94) - 3 Stars - Good - "...BRICKS is rich with daring, dazzling moments...powerful..."
Spin (5/92, p.79) - Highly Recommended - "...Sometimes bluesy and rockabillyish, sometimes churning and slow, the sum total is just plain cathartically groovy..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/19/92, p.71) - "...catchy tunes and mean vocals on top of ugly guitars and a quick-but-thick bottom of cast-iron grunge...simultaneously fun and furious, an intensely appealing combination..." - Rating: A
Q (4/92, p.76) - 3 Stars - Good - "...noisy, greasy and a lot cleverer than most rock music...L7 thrive on simple power and aggression..."
Option (July-Aug./92, p.113) - "...a sound that is so violently loud and unrelenting that you are literally spent when it's over...ferociously moving. This is rock & roll in its most basic and purest form..."
Village Voice (3/2/93, p.5) - Ranked #32 in the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums Of 1992.