Monotonix | Not Yet (Drag City)

Down and dirty, this Israeli’s voice will kick your ear buds to the curb from track one straight through track ten.

A band has truly found its niche when its stage performance is described as an all out frenzy of shirtless, bootie-short-wearing Israelis, surfing on top of each other while playing their instruments masterfully. Even more so when its album can match the power poured out on stage, complete with riffy power chords, chaotic, sometimes-melodic vocals and some of the craziest drumming to come out of Tel Aviv to date.
Twangy, distorted guitar, raunchy vocals, drumbeats gone wild and a lack of bass guitar are all phrases that describe the Monotonix’s second full-length album, Not Yet. The album opens frantically with “Nasty Fancy,” a song that makes today’s punk rock sound like child’s play. Not Yet follows up this sucker punch with several other hard-hitting tracks including “Try Try Try,” and “Blind Again.”
Lead singer Ami Shalev’s vocals are a big presence on Not Yet. Down and dirty, this Israeli’s voice will kick your ear buds to the curb from track one straight through track ten. Erratic, fresh and to the point, Shalev brings the thunder, even when toned down on tracks such as “Late Night” and “Never Died Before.” Although Shalev often strays from his seemingly trademarked style of yelling lyrics and finds some notes, he still struggles with melodic singing on the mellower songs. This often makes the songs feel more original, but occasionally his vocals fall flat, hurting the track.
Berserking percussion highlights Not Yet, leaving listeners wanting more and more as the album progresses. Haggai Fershtman brings down the house, alternating simple and complex drumbeats, feeding the guitar and vocal insanity. Again, on some of the mellower tracks the Monotonix falter, with the drums struggling to capture the feeling that the vocals and guitar seem to be going for. Nonetheless, both live and on the record Fershtman keeps your ears wide awake.
Guitarist Yonatan Gat is pure, hard-hitting, old school, punk-sounding badassness. Distorted and fresh, Gat’s is one of the most original playing styles you can find in modern music. This man is truly in a league of his own, finding a tone that fills in the void left by the absence of the bass guitar and fusing the trio into a power package you couldn’t dream up if you tried. Tracks such as “Fun Fun Fun” and “Before I Pass Away” are the best showcases of Gat’s skills, literally leaving listeners eating from his hands.
Not Yet provides ten tracks of pure, chaotic gold, giving the listener of what seems like a mix of Gogol Bordello and old school Bad Brains. Ten tracks don’t seem like enough, and after the album is finished listeners will be left wanting more. | Kavahn Mansouri
RIYL: Gogol Bordello, Bad Brains

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