Release Date: Sep 8, 2009
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
The rap on Tel Aviv’s Monotonix is that their studio recordings can’t live up to their insane, riotous, man-flesh-infused live show. That's true with Where Were You When it Happened?, and it’s probably going to remain true -- it may be true that nothing could capture that same dynamic energy -- but an objective listen reveals a solid, authentic garage-rock record. The album has only eight songs and runs a hair over a half hour.
Coming from Tel Aviv will more often than not prove to be a hindrance, perhaps a fatal one, if a band might hope to get some recognition in the West. Bearing this in mind, Israeli sweat-rock threesome Monotonix appear to have spent at least some of the last three years stumbling into dumb luck. The first person of any public import to talk them up was David Berman, who invited them to tour Europe with his band the Silver Jews after they supported the band on their brief tour of Israel in 2006.
The standard take on Israeli trio Monotonix is that their insane live act is such a spectacle that the music doesn't matter. To a large extent it's true-- the band definitely prioritizes antics over songs, happy to let their tunes fall apart completely if it means singer Ami Shalev can jump off a balcony or drummer Ran Shimoni can "play" his kit on top of the audience. There's so much to watch at their gigs that once the dust settles, it's hard to remember what you heard.