Saturday, 30 November 2013

Hunx and his Punx - Street Punk

If you are anything like me, you have had more discussions about what punk means than it is really wise to admit in adult company, you may have also written a 130000 word blog dedicated to ferreting out what is and isn't punk rock. You probably haven't done exactly that. Because that is fucking stupid and you are probably not that stupid.

Punk is a genre of music, it is also an attitude, and a vague political bent, but before it had the meaning of a genre of music, and before it exploded out into a thousand terrible incredibly earnest momentarily consuming message board arguments, it had a meaning somewhere between hoodlum and catamite. So street punk in 2013 might make you think of A Global Threat or Clit 45 or all those mohawked wonders with more studs than sense, but forty years ago, you were looking at someone probably a bit like Dee Dee Ramone or Jim Carroll. So here's Street Punk, reappropriating the term, restoring its original connotations of mean tough queer kids with switchblades.

This is Hunx and his Punx third album, after Gay Singles and Too Young to Be In Love, which were cool albums of 60s girl group sound roughed up and clumsy sweet, which I kinda dug but I didn't listen to too much because while I like that sort of amateurishness, I don't spend that much time listening to things that are quiet. Street Punk, like the name says, is mainly a straight-up punk rock album, taking that sound that shivered and stumbled its way through the Gay Singles and Too Young to Be in Love and running it through with stronger punk threads, which means that I like it more because I am a really predictable noise-hungry arsehole.

A similar trick to that reappropriation of 'street punk' happens with Bad Skin. It's a punk cut about acne, not big-ass bald-dudes with The Business tattoos, packed with anguished teenage destruction.

When Shannon Shaw takes over the vocalst's it's got echoes of that Midnite Snaxxx mess, on songs like the love/hate pop/punk You Think You're Tuff and its slip from denial to self-interrogation and Buzzcockian regret. Mud in Your Eyes is probably my favourite song on the album, a dreamy love shuffle of lust and grime. "You got mud in your eyes and I don't care/You got blood in you teeth and I don't care/You got grass on your skin and I don't care/You got dirt on your hands and I don't care" It's a song that's all physicality, and all dismissal of physicality, punching through the slime.

Similar repetition gives power to the real curt thrashers Don't Call Me Fabulous and Everyone's a Pussy (FUCK YOU DUDE!), they tear out in 30 seconds, hinging on a simple phrase repeated, just as the closing bummer number It's Not Easy does drawling "It's not easy being me" over and over. From the criminal gang anthem of I'm Coming Back to the Beastie Boys cover Egg Raid on Mojo, this is a sloppy stabby punk rock album rumbling with Personal and the Pizzas dumbcrew mythology and mellifluous girl-group bits lifting out gently from behind the fuzz.

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