The world isn't short of bands overly familiar with the Phil Spector school of rock `n' roll, but such is its enduring appeal that there seems always room enough for one more. Cue the improbably named Hunx & His Punx.
How then does this Oakland outfit ensure they remain on the right side of the pastiche divide - a subtle line with which the band flirt so readily? It would be tempting to give all the credit to Seth Bogart, their flagrantly homosexual frontman. No doubt, his tongue-in-cheek tales of boy-on-boy lust and unique vocal lisp stand him apart.
Yet, in managing to be more consistent than sometimes-sound-a-like contemporaries Cults, the true power of Too Young To Be In Love lies in its impeccable pop-craft. Thus, spoken-word asides ripped from The Shangri-Las abound, equally those ubiquitous drum patterns pilfered from The Ronettes. And often both can be found on the same track, just as on "Lovers Lane", a track which otherwise succeeds in coming on strongly like The Raveonettes circa Pretty In Black.
So too are bassist Shannon Shaw's backing vocals highly notable. Giving it her all on, for example, "If You're Not Here", the forgotten soul of Lisa Kekaula and The BellRays is brought to mind. And, capping her performance, her part in the back-and-forth of the highly catchy "The Curse Of Being Young" is a real show-stealer.
Range duly comes to the collection courtesy of genre-critical, choral cooing - authenticity by a purposeful crackle to the production. And there's still time to even cram in some washed-out proto-Glam along the lines of what Smith Westerns have recently been peddling. This focus come to a head early on during "He's Coming Back", which elsewhere does a grand job of reimaging the general thrust of The Angels/Chiffons classic "My Boyfriend's Back".
Though Too Young To Be In Love is undeniably as camp as the proverbial row of tents, the nagging tristesse of "Blow Me Away", which concerns itself with the real-life suicide of Bogart's father, along with the similarly teary nature of the title track, go a long way in providing necessary balance. It'll be interesting to see what Bogart and his band do next, but, for now, it seems there will always be room in this world for quality, especially when it comes in such quantity.
Advised downloads: "Lovers Lane" and "The Curse Of Being Young".