Without the backing of his female Punx, Seth Bogart– aka Hunx– gives us the first real look at the softer side of his often flamboyant personality. Previous efforts read as sugary, puppy love declarations presented at a glamorous-but-unruly party. But in the after-hours lull of that party, when our extroverted front man is alone, there’s Hairdresser Blues, an album of somber secrets.
Hunx scales down his normally upbeat attitude but leaves the grungy punk he’s so noted for intact. This pairing benefits the record and allows Bogart to explore his ideas more freely without losing fans in his late night reflections. Hunx might be instructing star-crossed lovers to let go of each other on “Set Them Free”, but with breezy acoustic backing, his twisted message becomes an irresistibly catchy gem.
We see the serious side of the showman through Bogart’s intimate dealings with death. “Say Goodbye Before You Leave” is a ballad to close friend Jay Reatard that echoes with Hunx’s pensive cries for a friend who’s no longer there. Hunx has said he has no recollection of recording the similarly moody closer “When You’re Gone”. Recorded upon waking from a nightmare, the track is a heartbreaking letter to Bogart’s late father, the unrushed drums and guitars giving the demo a haunting chill.
Even amidst the tragedy of Hairdresser Blues, there are moments of the throwback rock that fans have come to know. Inspired by sex caves found near the Golden Gate Bridge, “Private Rock” is a thrilling surf rock track complete with snarls. The bubbly “Do You Remember Being a Roller?” incorporates glitchy glam in a tribute to the Bay City Rollers.
Hairdresser Blues is a means for Bogart’s bedroom insomnia thoughts to escape, a place where glam rock antics aren’t needed, and a more intimate look at both the man and the musician.
Essential Tracks: “Do You Remember Being a Roller?” , “Set Them Free” , and “Say Goodbye Before You Leave”