Key Tracks: “Born Blonde,” “Street Punk”
Brilliantly named Hunx & His Punx have jumped to a bit of a different ship. With the most straightforward album title of the year, the San Francisco band tighten up their sound and pick up the pace. The album is titled “Street Punk” because it is, well, an effort to be a street punk band. This change is no more apparent than in the band’s album covers. The older, ridiculously fabulous Hunx & His Punx had an album cover of a close-up of a male crotch in a speedo. This album, a (faux) tattooed chest. Track eight is called “Don’t Call Me Fabulous.” The reason for the band’s switch in sub-genres is unknown, but what we’re left with is a decent transition record, over as soon as it starts.
The second track on “Street Punk” is called “Everyone’s a Pussy (F**k You Dude)” and consists of only those six words, screamed over a blistering thirty-one seconds. The album is twelve tracks, and barely twenty minutes. This is probably for the better, because Hunx & His Punx haven’t exactly mastered street punk yet. The album is full of quick punk blasts, but ones that land in between street punk and their older, girl-group influences. The result is a strange blending of ideas, one that has moments better than others, but often succeeds in doing its job. It isn’t as loud, or as consistently quick as other street punk albums. It does have the ferocity. There is anger and disgust, some coming natural and some forced. But even when it’s forced, it usually works, because the band believes it’ll work. Shannon from fellow San Fran punks Shannon and the Clams shares vocals on this record, resulting in a nice back-and-forth between singers.
Hunx is, in a way, his usual self here. He sounds the same vocally. Some of the lyrical themes are the same. Yet the band has sped everything up, and added reverb and feedback. It’s a different Hunx & His Punx, and it makes the listener wonder where the band will land next. And with the crotch and the chest taken as album covers, what’s next? What genre does the arms align with?
If you like this, try: “Living Dummy” by Pangea (2011). They’re an equally genre-less California-based punk band, and “Living Dummy” is one of my very favorite records.
-By Andrew McNally