Monotonix – Cardiff Arts Institute, 30 Nov, with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs /
Body Language (Drag City) Review
Blames the cops. Three garage punks from Tel Aviv, Monotonix were once contained safely within the boundaries of Israel. Until they started playing gigs. Five seconds later they were being banned from most of the country’s venues for a live show that tends to descend into a wild mix of sweat, chaos, setting themselves on fire (band) and random sex acts (audience). Like a Tasmanian Devil with a Rickenbacker there was no way Monotonix were going to sit idle, so with their homeland refusing to play ball they upped sticks for more welcoming climates.
Produced by the Fucking Champs‘ Tim Green in San Francisco, ‘Body Language‘ is a cacophonic mess of blistering, dirrrty garage and cacophonic punk, with ever so slight nods in the direction of Cream and Led Zeppelin. Just six tacks long and seemingly drenched in as much gasoline and leather-stinking sweat as you’ll find at one of their gigs, this is rock and roll at its most filthy and exuberant.
Opener ‘Lowest Drive’ kicks off like a rabid Bronx track before grinding down into a raw-blues stoner groove. ‘Summers and Autumns‘ marches along on a riff rampage, like a caged fight-off between MC5 and Motorhead. No Metal is a sludge of bone-crunching early 70s metal over a Masters of Reality groove, even bringing in some fine Hammond organ at one point.
Yet, with such a masterful and raw mix of stoner, garage and blues, Monotonix pour out some dreadfully winceful lyrics . “I’m a deadly weapon / Why you always change your mind / It’s been a long time since you treat me so unkind”, begins ‘Deadly Weapon‘, perhaps the only real filler here. And it’s unclear how far tongues are in cheeks when they sing, “My body language says I’m not afraid” on ‘Body Language’.
Still, if His Highness of Plant can get away with such cherries as “Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg”, then maybe we can let Monotonix off, for now. Anyway, with riffs as monster-killing sharp and songs that chug along with such a fiery intoxication, there’s far more reasons to have fun with Monotonix. Just make sureyou thank those Israeli cops for sending them our way.
Swn presents Monotonix at Cardiff Arts Institute on 30 November, with support from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Price is £2/£3. M onstage 10pm, TEED onstage midnight. Ticket details coming swn.
Full report on Cardiff Arts Institute coming next week.
Monotonix, Live at The Mohawk (Austin TX, 10.09.08)