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. On at least seven songs, there is no filler. There are, however, interesting time signatures, vicious guitar riffs, and driving beats. The album has a consistent sound, with guitarist Yonatan Gat using the same cocktail of tones and effects throughout. The only real miss is the final track, “Hunt You Down,” which sounds on the record like five minutes of whining, but I could envision it being successful at a Monotonix live show.
What’s funny about the album is that despite all it hard-rocking aggression, it’s a collection of mostly love songs. And it works. Just like the occasional revelation of a thick Isreali accent from singer Ami Shalev and the passionate expressiveness of each instrument, the seemingly disparate elements all somehow come together into a raucous, coherent whole.