Musically the album is heavier and dirtier than the band's previous recordings and described as "catchy tunes and mean vocals on top of ugly guitars and a quick-but-thick bottom of cast-iron grunge" by Entertainment Weekly.
In a contemporary review for Playboy, Robert Christgau regarded Bricks Are Heavy as an "object lesson in how to advance your music by meeting the marketplace halfway", though he believed it would not sell as much as it deserved. He said Vig helped L7 produce grunge-metal featuring "intense admixtures of ditty and power chord" that "never quite gathers Nirvana's momentum, but it's just as catchy and a touch nastier."Greg Kot was less enthusiastic in the Chicago Tribune, writing that there were not many good songs such as "Slide" and "the performances-while certainly ferocious-aren`t sufficiently varied enough to make up the difference."
NME listed it as the 39th best album of 1992. It was ranked at number 4 on The Village Voice's "Pazz & Jop: Dean's List", as well as number 32 on their "Pazz & Jop: Critics Poll". In 2015, Spin placed it at number 249 on the "300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985-2014)" list.