Hunx and His Punx – Street Punk

Fans of the Bay Area beauty-brat punk Seth Bogart will inevitably be taken aback by his latest Hunx and His Punx album. The girl-group pop mold he been shaping for about five years – both as a solo artist and in this incarnation, with Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams at his side – is pushed to the extremes like a bodycon tube dress after a fast food binge. The bedrock influence remains, but the scummy trimmings of Street Punk act as a rusty switchblade at the neck of his super-tart, glam-and-glitter persona.

But let’s not forget that Bogart’s always taken a shock-and-awe approach. Whether it’s onstage nudity (at the Atlanta Mess-Around a few years ago he complained of diarrhea while bending over in ripped up tights and a thong) or boasting about boning “all the straight boys in LA,” he’s consistently paired his tunes with some measure of jaw-dropping antics. That in mind, it makes sense he’d flip the switch on everybody and release an album dirtied-up by ’80s hardcore nods and ’90s riot grrrl grit.

Just because Bogart’s teeth are clenched, however, doesn’t mean he still can’t don a hot pink hue on his lips. Angst-addled “Bad Skin” kicks off the LP like a teenage mailbox-smashing escapade, and songs like “Don’t Call Me Fabulous” and a cover of old school Beastie Boys gem “Egg Raid on Mojo” are similarly red-faced. And “Everyone’s a Pussy” features Shaw in a likeminded raucous freak-out. The next track, “You Think You’re Tuff,” swings with a melody as catchy as any other Hunx and His Punx romp, just with a little more force than usual. And Bogart still squeezes in a girly number with “Born Blonde,” which bounces with the same brand of blatant narcissism he’s been flaunting since the start.

The crude shenanigans are actually fun, assuming you like your silly with a little sour. Plus, Street Punk sees Shaw’s role shift from bassist and backup singer to the front-and-center spotlight, and the turbulent theme has unleashed a savage fury in her voice that’s just as magnetic as her trademark rich belting. Even at its angriest, the album oozes with the charm of cheeky weirdo-punk vanity – and that’s really what Bogart’s been pushing all along.

Hunx and His Punx
Street Punk
[Hardly Art]