Monotonix are back – but how can this be, if they never really went away? They’re the People’s Rock Band, playing anywhere and everywhere that they’re allowed to play all around the world. Nobody anywhere has played more gigs than Monotonix over the past two years. Nobody –unless “playing gigs” is code for scratching one’s ass, in which case, we’re all as Godly as the Monotonix crew.
Speaking of ass, wait’ll you see the back of Where Were You When It Happened? ! What it lacks in cheek, it makes up for in crack. But what are Monotonix supposed to do? Fans of their incredible live energy insist that their first record, the “Body Language” EP, is great, but can’t possibly approach the thrill that comes from being rocked from within, doused with band-sweat, trash and a variety of drinks, mooned and then challenged to bear the group aloft while they climax their relentless assault. Fucking duh! No LP, CD or DVD can duplicate that – not even Blu-Ray (not yet). Still, over the course of their two releases, Monotonix have mastered an approximation of their live rush. Where Were You When It Happened? roils and rocks with frenetic glee, shows a lot of skin, and is over before you know it. Even when they were recording “Body Language,” Monotonix couldn’t help sneaking off and playing a gig or two in between takes. However, when it came to making this album, they knew they needed to slow down. A temporary sabbatical from gigs was taken and the band wrote material in New Orleans’ Midtown district, where their rawboned compositions resembled the Katrina-pummeled surroundings. With their girlfriends with them in as close to a stable environment as they’d been in months, they were able to tap a darker, more personal side in songs like “As Noise,” and “Hunt You Down,” with its mournful, organ-drenched air belying Monotonix’s typical “good-time Charlie” posturing, while fulfilling the
album’s need for a climactic, balladic moment. Where Were You When It Happened? finds Monotonix visiting a greater diversity of places within their sound while still retaining their minimal appeal. Mostly though, Where Were You When It Happened? works up a sweat with raw rock and roll, acid guitar licks and riffs, screaming choruses and, in general, the wildness of Monotonix in a way that makes
for repeated album listening (and pummeling). How did they do it? Where most bands refine their production sound as they go forward, Monotonix have reverse-refined themselves, playing dirtier and more energetic to capture the lightning they are known for. Plastered with photos of Monotonix in their high-flying (literally), barely-dressed element, Where Were You When It Happened? is a party you can put in your pants (CD only, unless you’re some kind of mega-fan (literally)) — or more effectively, on your home stereo-system.