Hunx And His Punx
20:18 min • Hardly Art Records • July 23, 2013
Walter Beck reviews
The second album from San Francisco queercore band Hunx and His Punx is a radical departure from their 2011 LP Too Young to Be in Love. The debut showcased a more classic bubblegum sound, influenced by early rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop groups. Street Punk ups the aggression and distortion, while the influence of early rock ‘n’ roll is still evident on this album; it’s buried underneath a wall of primitive punk venom.
Opening with ‘Bad Skin’, the band channels the primal scream of Iggy and the Stooges, burning at a hundred miles an hour, with leader Hunx and his duo of damsels barking out, “I got bad skin, I got bad skin” in an infectious chorus. The opening chords, dragging out for fifteen seconds before speeding along, sound almost like bad skin melting off the hot grille of a cheap amp in the heat of a garage.
‘Everyone’s a Pussy (Fuck You Dude)’ has the chaotic clash of ’70s era No Wave – thirty seconds of anti-music thrashing with the band chanting along,
Everyone’s a pussy, everyone’s a pussy,
Everyone’s a pussy, fuck you, dude!
before the cut ends in a group laugh.
The third cut ‘You Think You’re Tuff’ is the first real musical highlight of the record, a minute and a half of burning mid-paced buzzsaw punk riffing with lead singer Hunx’s half-slurred out vocals cutting through about love lost and love regretted.
Pounding tom drum rhythms dominate ‘Born Blonde’, a snot-nosed, smirk lipped ode to Hunx’s hair, featuring an almost Bo Diddley like beat during the verses. The chorus has the usual steady rock n roll rhythm, but the verses leave something a little special.
‘I’m Coming Back’ is a classic veined minute-forty-five second punk burner about the desire for revenge, the animalistic thirst that shoots up the throat when you’re prowling around to get back at those who did you wrong. With such an archetypal punk song frame, the band manages to hash out not only a pretty respectable tribute, but a gem of their own.
The first side of the LP comes to a close with ‘Mud in Your Eyes’, a bit of a gonzo-styled number, with staggering, nearly syncopated drum beat and guitar riff mixed with a choral backing, doo-wop styled vocal. If there’s a track that bridges the sound of their old records with the aggression of this album, this is it.
The second half kicks off with the title track ‘Street Punk’, another song that has a strong echo of the Stooges, with lead singer Hunx speaking the verses in a distorted, almost distant voice and then singing out the chorus of,
Street punk, and I don’t fit in,
I don’t fit into your world.
‘Don’t Call Me Fabulous’ is in a similar dissonant vein as ‘Everyone’s a Pussy’, another thirty seconds of raw, primal aggression, backed with the band screaming out, “Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous, well oh my god!”
The ninth track ‘Rat Bag’ features a droning bass heavy opening that conjures up images of early Alice Cooper, especially Hunx’s serpent-like delivery of the line, “I live in a rat bag”. The verses of the song are dominated by the speedy edged punk riffs, but the chorus maintains that haunting edge of the song’s opening.
‘Egg Raid on Mojo’ features some spacey distorted riffs in the beginning that sound almost like early space rock (think Hawkwind), before getting back to the primitive ripping of the rest of the album. The song mainly features a repeated chant of “Egg raid on mojo, egg raid on mojo”, truth be told, I have no idea what it means, but it’s catchy, and even if it’s complete nonsense, well it fits right in with rock ‘n’ roll.
‘Kill Elaine’ has some of the best instrumental work showcased on this LP, a squealing, string bending guitar sound that mixes a classic lead sound with a strong noisy edge, backed with some pretty frenzy schizophrenic drumming. True, there are those moments of classic punk sound, but they flash in and out like a half-heard radio signal.
The final track on the album ‘It’s Not Easy’ shows the band hasn’t completely abandoned their earlier doo-wop/early rock ‘n’ roll sound. An interesting break from the pure aggression of the rest of the LP, ‘It’s Not Easy’ features a slow, bluesy riff and drumming with Hunx groaning out his lament of the difficulties of his life. The guitar fades out and the record is finished.
This album is quite a surprise for Hunx & His Punx’ fan base, a dirty, distorted departure from their previous album; it’s seeped in the old school ’70s punk aesthetics and sound, but it’s still quite an original album. If you’re looking for some contemporary old school punk rock to put in your collection, pick up a copy of Street Punk.