Los Angeles breeds them weird. It helped transform Jim Morrison into the drunken monster he was before his utter demise; really there’s just an air about those hailing from the city of angels. The nonchalant attitude, trendsetting style, loose morals and—of course—a bastardization of music in some respects are what set the West Coast metropolis apart from other American cities. Whether it’s all a gimmick, Hunx and His Punx takes the L.A. attitude and stylizes it with a surf and doo-wop sound, producing its debut LP Too Young to Be in Love. Critically, some have labeled it punk, garage or noise. Some thus far have called it bubblegum, but in essence it’s a throwback to the early 60s and touts a real beach music appeal.
Fronted by part-time hairdresser Seth Bogart (Hunx) and backed vocally by a Bay Area axe wielder Shannon Shaw, Hunx and His Punx has a certain chemistry that takes this old-school beach sound to new heights. Aside from Hunx, the band is an all-girl cast. And as each song from their album purrs through the speakers, the ladies’ touch on it is by far the best part. Hunx’s voice is eerily similar to another shock-punker (Nobunny) and generally lacks any real creativity. His lyrical attitude is different, though, and has brought back the age-old love songs made famous back in the middle of last century.
Guitar work is paramount to their sound, and both guitar and bass are the prominent fixture on the track “Blow Me Away,” the standout from the album. Its dark, broody atmosphere takes a different route away from the surf sound that is blatant on the record. “The Curse of Being Young” is another darker track focusing more on the ladies’ vocals and has that Ronnettes feel to it.
Hunx states that Ronnie Specter is his main influence musically, so it makes sense that this sound is what really gives the album character. Shaw’s voice is stellar and in all points is a grand focus steering away from Hunx.
Other peppier tracks include “Bad Boy” and “Can We Get Together?” which capture happier times of chasing boys and living for the thrill of the hunt. “He’s Coming Back” is incredibly doo-wop. Accented with an organ and backed with the repetitive lyrics “Yeah, my boyfriend’s coming back,” it gives a sensation of standing over the jukebox waiting for your guy to come in through the front door of the soda shop. Most every track on the album is pleasurable to listen to and has that fun-in-the-sun appeal. “Keep Away From Johnny” has a similar aesthetic with that tight beach guitar and deep tom drums following behind Hunx and Shaw’s lyrical dueling.
Hunx and His Punx are the gay Ramones. Their doo-wop/surf sound is hot coming out of L.A. and they manage a following growing like waves crashing on the beaches of the West Coast. Their sound is pure, their act is a gimmick and their music is nothing like the punk made popular by the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys. All points considered, it’s impossible to call this a punk album with the sound it projects. It’s actually commendable to say Hunx and His Punx doesn’t want to be a chicken-shit conformist though. They have a punk mantra and a viral sound, but they’re too cute. Having a bubblegum label is fine so long as they don’t get bogged down by the punk moniker.
Hunx and His Punx – Too Young to Be in Love Tracklist:
- “Lovers Lane”
- “He’s Coming Back”
- “Keep Away From Johnny”
- “That’s The Curse Of Being Young”
- “Too Young to Be in Love”
- “If You’re Not Here”
- “Bad Boy”
- “Tonite Tonite”
- “Can We Get Together”
- “Blow Me Away”