The new Hunx is just Hunx, no Punx. Because, as frontman Seth Bogart vaguely describes, “Hairdresser Blues doesn’t feel like a Hunx And His Punx album.” Bogart—who plays all the parts on Blues, except the drums—is definitely a visceral musician, less concerned with tracking and perfect tones than with how things feel. As seen in his stage shows, it’s not always about how the music sounds, it’s about how it moves the audience. Which usually means great performances and so-so recorded output. Blues doesn’t immediately hook on first listen, save for Bogart’s brash sincerity, which carries much of the record.
Blues is unpolished modern garage-pop, as infatuated with ’60s kitsch-rock as it is with ’70s East Village punk. With a voice that only a lover could love, Bogart’s nasally croon yelps and whelps throughout the album. Stressing bad relationships and lost friendships, the record is thematically darker than last year’s Too Young To Be In Love. “Say Goodbye Before You Leave” is a forlorn ode to one-time Hunx tourmate, the late Jay Reatard. “It’s been over year and I’m still sad,” Bogart sings. Closing ballad “When You’re Gone” is equally focused, an affirmation on the continuing presence of departed loved ones.
But, in true Bogart style, Blues isn’t all gloom and lament. “Private Room” is a kicking surf-inspired number about promiscuous sex, and “Do You Remember Being A Roller?” is an upbeat, cutesy track about Bay City Rollers fandom. Though Blues is a quick listen, clocking in at a scant 26 minutes, it twists and turns (and builds up and breaks down) so much that it feels much longer and somehow more complete than past efforts. And, for Bogart, feeling is everything.