Album Review: Monotonix – Body Language (Drag City Records, 2008)

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MP3: Monotonix – Body Language

I’m not sure about you, but Monotonix (Wiki) is not what I expect from the Israeli music scene. I imagined that they’d use some instruments I’ve never heard of, perhaps utilize some lesser-known percussion techniques, but I was so very wrong.

There’s no horsing around on this record.  From the minute you press play, Monotonix are prepared to pummel you with what can only be described as “bad-assery”.

People…this is real rock music.  Hairy men, distorted guitars, did I mention hairy men?

These days those clichés just aren’t enough to gain popularity in the rock world. Now you need something more memorable to get any sort of reputation, Monotonix use their phenomenal live show. Lead vocalist Ami Shalev knows how to captivate audiences onstage, and does not hesitate to do so (even though a good portion of the audience is too preoccupied with throwing punches blindly to notice him).

The only problem is, and don’t get your feathers all ruffled over this, but live shows are nothing more than theatre.

Think about it.  A bunch of characters go on stage and perform, you pay for tickets and watch, and it’s all a good time. The difference between indie rock shows and musical theatre then, isn’t in the style of music, but rather the priority of the music in relation to the live act. Most bands place the recording of their music to a higher standard than their live sound, whereas most musicals try and capture their live music with show tunes. Makes sense, right? Monotonix’s Body Language EP, while moderately entertaining, seems like show tunes more than anything else.

Show tunes aren’t necessarily bad, but most will agree that it’s better to get the real experience at the concert. This applies to Monotonix; this EP is full of solid rock songs, but it’s difficult to really get into. You can’t just sit down and listen to Body Language with your headphones on…you have to jump, you have to shout, you’ve got to participate to enjoy Monotonix in full. I’d like to clear up that these guys aren’t KISS; there are no explosions, there’s no makeup or silver lining to Monotonix. There are just three men from Israel trying to rock out as hard as possible. I would imagine there’s also a layer of sweat over them at all times. This is the purest form of rock: hairy, loud, and energetic.

If Monotonix were heroin, I think we’d all overdose.

Track Listing

1. Lowest Dive (4:33)
2. Summers And Autumns (2:56)
3. Body Language (4:15)
4. Deadly Weapon (3:36)
5. No Metal (3:38)
6. On The Road (4:44)

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