Fun Fun Fun
Rock music has become such a worldwide institution that society at large seems to have adjusted to its traditions of excess and obnoxiously high volumes. It should then be quite a shock that Israeli trio Monotonix performs with such unabashed intensity that club owners frequently cut their power and call the police. Having already completed several world tours, these Tel Aviv maniacs have stopped long enough to record their second full-length record, Not Yet, and bring us as much of their unique spin as can be captured in audio.
“Nasty Fancy” kicks off the album with pounding kick drums and a Kinks-on-meth attitude, as singer Ami Shalev wails above the chaos. “Before I Pass Away” feels like a spiritual successor to the surf-rock of the 60’s, while “Give Me More” is dead-on Minutemen, with its ostinato guitar and unadorned percussion. The record finally lets up on “Late Night,” the jangling guitars and comparably serene vocals bring us the closest thing to a ballad these guys have to offer, before closing true to form with “Never Died Before,” a quick and noisy California rocker.
For a band comprised solely of Shalev, guitarist Yonatan Gat, and drummer Haggai Fershtman, these guys sound HUGE. The kick drum might very well be a mile wide for all the punch it brings, and Gat sculpts his guitar tone in a way that makes you forget the band has no bassist. But despite the depth of sound, there’s a stripped down simplicity here, too. Gat fills the room with just one guitar, and Shalev eschews backing vocals AND the standard doubling of the lead vocal track, letting his mighty pipes bring you the rock by themselves.
It’s no substitute for their live show, but Not Yet is a fantastic garage rocker that manages to capture as much of Monotonix’s intensity as possible. Fans of the DIY ethos and the “go big or go home” attitude should not miss this one.