Shannon Shaw of Shannon & The Clams has joined Seth Bogart as a writing partner in Hunx & His Punx, but the collaboration hasn’t deterred Bogart’s tendency toward gimmicks. On previous albums, he favored themes of queer sexuality and hairdressing above simple garage-pop and girl-group melodrama, but Street Punk‘s shtick is, well, punk. Three-chord riffs crunch over straight-ahead backbeats, while Bogart and Shaw proclaim how few shits they give and how tough they are.
While Street Punk is intended to be a cheeky mockery of punk, the nineteen-minute album plays out like a joke. Street Punk hones the genre’s most asinine and basic aspects. The songs’ riffs and structural compositions aren’t just simplistic, they’re lackluster vessels for infantile lyrics. To address the eternal punk topic of rebellion, for instance, Bogart musters the not-so-clever lyric: fuck that shit/I don’t give a fuck about what you do.
The tracks that break Street Punk‘s willfully underdeveloped punk mold fail in other ways. The Fifties-style swing rhythm on “Mud in Your Eyes” makes it sound like a rejected Clams track, but the Punx fail to emphasize the beat like Shaw’s main group does. The closer, “It’s Not Easy,” is a sluggish ballad that seems like it was only added to push the album over fifteen minutes. “You Think You’re Tuff” stands out due to Shaw’s engaging vocal phrasing, but its strength only makes every other track sound worse in comparison.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with novelty punk, but it requires more thought than Street Punk delivers. (Hardly Art)