Album Review: Monotonix - Not Yet
One of the most notorious live acts on the circuit, Tel Aviv psych(o)-garage three-piece Monotonix have wrought admirable destruction and mayhem at clubs and festivals across the globe – on those occasions they don’t just get shut down by security, that is. So, while their vaulting, punishingly physical and frankly joyous live sets (for the uninitiated, think Les Savy Fav - if all the members were Tim Harrington) tend to linger in the memory long after they’ve been experienced, why is it that they choose to deliver mostly lifeless, by-the-numbers rock on record?
Take ‘Everything That I See’, ‘Blind Again’ and ‘Fun Fun Fun’ for starters: each of them a strangely weak and uninteresting imitation of their self-confessed musical heroes - chiefly Mudhoney and The Stooges - at their least atmospheric. In such underwhelming company, it's a relief to at least find the blinding pace of ‘Give Me More’ and the quirky, off-key melody of ‘You and Me’ offering some respite, however brief, from the run-of-the-mill riffola that dominates the album as a whole.
The problem that something as basic and workmanlike as Not Yet causes is that you may even find yourself beginning to question the validity of those famed live performances. Are they just masking sucky songs by leaping around, going ‘crazy’? We'll allow the jury to retire on that one for the time being, but what these ten tracks certainly prove is that, for a wild, uncontrollable and, yes, maybe even challenging live band, on record Monotonix reveal a truly unattractive, almost luddite old rock'n'roll side that even ardent fans will find hard to celebrate. On this evidence, we can but hope that their tunes will one day share the kind of vitality their gigs have in spades.
In a nutshell: duck the album, catch the show.