Hunx and His Punx's latest record, Too Young to Be in Love, sounds like the diary entries of a sassy teenaged girl: It's filled with nothing but songs about heartache and love. The thing that sets this garage-rock revivalist band apart is that it's an all-female outfit fronted by a flamboyantly gay frontman with nasally vocals, whose only dream in life -- according to its music label, Hardly Art -- "is to sound like a girl."
The band's aesthetic is entirely theatrical and glam. The act includes the aforementioned Hunx (aka Seth Bogart); Amy Blaustein (guitar, organ); Shannon Shaw (bass, backup vocals); Michelle Santamaria, a '90s punk-rock veteran from LA (guitar) and Erin Emslie (drums).
There's a playful lightness to Hunx and His Punx's music hat is very much evocative of adolescence, with doo-wop melodies, and '50s and '60s archetypes; it's got this greaser, rockabilly vibe. And despite all the not-so-subtle innuendos and Valley girl attitude, there's also some real dark moments on the record as well. The album closer, "Blow Me Away," is an ode to Bogart's father, who took his own life when Seth was a teenager. The song gives just enough of a peek inside Bogart's vulnerability, yet not enough to take away from his persona as Hunx, where he lives in a reality that seems to be covered in sparkles and milkshakes.
However, Hunx owes a lot to his Punx, who are credited with the sharpness of the songs, providing near-perfect girl-group harmonies and an authentic re-interpretation of classic '60s bubblegum pop. With track titles like "The Curse of Being Young," "My Boyfriend's Back" and "Lovers Lane," the band purveys a fair amount of dark humor. Hunx and His Punx don't claim to have pioneered the style, but they simply own it in the only way they know how -- with a heaping dose of flair.
Hunx and His Punx (or, to be more accurate, his Punkettes) are playing the Til Two Club Nov. 18. But be forewarned: If you're planning on standing in the front, prepare to be touched. Hunx and His Punx are notoriously invasive -- if you're a fan, you knew that already.