Since getting banned from Tel Aviv, Israel four years ago, Monotonix brought their own style of garage rock, noise rock, and metal with a twist of classic rock to the US and Europe. Anyone who has seen them live can tell you how their throwback classic rock show amid the ruthless on-stage antics including running through the audience, drinking (and throwing) a slew of alcohol, and even interacting with (and throwing) audience members makes their rambunctious acts one of those experiences you seriously can’t miss. (Side note: their current tour might be their last.) Hairy, mustached frontman Ami Shalev sweating like a mad dog almost always leads the crowd both male and female to take of their shirts with his hypnotic wailing. Their shows are just one big, loud party.
So why am I starting this review telling you how good their live shows are? It’s because you should go see one of those rather than listen to Not Yet.
I’m not saying that Not Yet, the band’s second LP and follow-up to 2009′s Where Were You When It Happened? and 2008′s Body Language EP, isn’t likable. The first thing you notice if you’ve followed the band this far is that this is their loudest and most chaotic album yet. If that’s what you’re looking for in an album or in the progression of the Monotonix trio, then you’ll probably like this album a lot. The problem here, though, is that not only is this album set to that loud, chaotic level for the whole 32 minutes, it’s ends up being unimaginative and quite honestly, it’s been done before better with so many other bands. If you’re looking for these guys to offer any sort of variety, the only song that isn’t turned up to 11 would be “Late Night,” where Monotonix try out their best impression of a Sonic Youth song. Everything else Not Yet has to offer are virtually identical and hard to discern from one another.
For what it’s worth, it isn’t an entirely bad listen. “Nasty Fancy” and “Everything That I See” have great guitar hooks, “Give Me More” has a very interesting guitar solo, and the flamboyant drumming is strong throughout, but this isn’t the album to draw in new fans if they didn’t care for the last two. What will draw in fans are the live shows. The worst offender of this album is that it doesn’t convey how much fun the live Monotonix shows can be. On record, it just comes off like a bland AC/DC or Black Sabbath ripoff band. This is definitely not the album to seek any new musical concepts. This is the album to listen to in your car on the drive to the live show you’re about to see, experience, and maybe get a bruise or two from Shalev at. Maybe they don’t care, but ultimately, without any variety or ingenuity on any future albums they might make next, Monotonix might be forever stuck in a rut with nothing to do but party hard.
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