He's back with a razor sharp debut of garage rock and glam gems
You might think that hairdressers, with their first-rate small talk, nifty way with a feathering razor and licence to talk about ‘dramality’ TV all day, have got it made. Yet it would seem that even the coiffurazzi get the blues.
Fresh prince of trash Seth Bogart is more commonly known as San Francisco Bay Area’s notorious Hunx. A dashing hybrid of John Waters and Don Draper, he’s a former member of queercore electro tykes Gravy Train!!!!, frontman of Hunx And His Punx, and the chap who had his manhood used as a microphone in Girls’ NSFW (unless you work in the HR department of a sex dungeon) ‘Lust For Life’ video. If that wasn’t enough, Hunx is also a dab hand with the styling scissors, working at and co-owning a salon in Oakland, California, called Down At Lulu’s.
Which brings us neatly to ‘Hairdresser Blues’, out less than a year after Hunx And His Punx’ debut dose of dirty doo-wop ‘Too Young To Be In Love’. Hunx’ backing group the Punkettes – a flickcomb-wielding girl gang who snapped pink bubblegum and looked unimpressed from under baby blue-painted lids – quit the band last summer, so now he’s going it alone. Playing every instrument bar drums in this 27-minute-long, quick-fire collection of 10 songs, it’s clear that Hunx is still in thrall to the retro gogo-punk racket. There is though, a certain 1970s stomp in the offing, not least on ‘Do You Remember Being A Roller?’ an endearingly out of time tribute to the tartan-clad, glam-rock Backstreet Boys, the Bay City Rollers.
‘Hairdresser Blues’ might have been written late at night by a sad-eyed Seth locked in his room, going through some “really dark periods”, but it’s far from overwrought depresso-pop. C’mon, how glum can a record that has a track on it inspired by nudist cottaging caves near the Golden Gate Bridge possibly be? That’s ‘Private Room’, by the way, a shangalang-y smack of rough and tumble garage gold. The full throttle jangle of ‘Always Forever’ makes for a memorable, melancholy kiss-off to a tosser of an ex-lover, while the scuzz-pop title track is a call-to-arms for unfulfilled Toni & Guy workers, played out as The Cramps borrow the Ronettes’ hairspray.
That’s not to say there aren’t any smidgens of sorrow. ‘Say Goodbye Before You Leave’ is dedicated to Hunx’s buddy, Jay Reatard, who went to the great dive bar in the sky two years ago. “[i]Do you remember taking me on tour/I had the best time[/i]”, mourns Hunx over wire wool-scrubbed Jesus And Mary Chain riffs. The sweetly impassioned album closer ‘When You’re Gone’ also might have you pretending that it’s just the shampoo in your eyes that’s making them water, with its echoes of the Moldy Peaches’ DIY balladry. A cut above.