Three years since everyone’s favorite dumpster-diving rabbit put out his last album? Doesn’t seem like that. Maybe that’s because when another Hunx And His Punx, Mean Jeans, Jacuzzi Boys, Personal & the Pizzas, King Tuff, etc. song pops up on your “Lepus rock” Pandora station, you figure either it is Nobunny or he must be busy as heck ghost-writing. But no. It just seems that this soiled tighty-whities collector has, in only about six years time, made a kooky riff on post-Black Lips party crashing into something of an influence. No matter. On his fourth album, Justin Champlin (his human name) goes about whipping up the kind ragged pop he’s so good at.
“My Blank Space,” “Lizard Lies” and “Little Bo Bitch” are fine—fuzzy 1973 bubblegum chewing—well, if Razzles had a “bath salts” flavor thrown in the mix. “It’s Pathetic” and “Lizard Love” keep a bit of his early days in the skuzz-punk band, Sneaky Pinks, hopping along. He does change his undies sometimes, like on the loopy Donovan-like prance, “Trouble in Mind.” And in general, things are slightly tamped down tempo-wise. But as anyone who’s seen his still-crazed live act of late can attest, this guy refuses to wash his bunny masks. “Birthday Girl” is a malt shop toss-off, but one that any of those aforementioned bands would put out as a single rather than burying at the bottom of their record. And “Red Light Love” will be another of those set list faves that’ll send loads of people stomping over themselves to get to the front of the stage to try to paw at one of the more filthy physical specimens the late-00s trash rock scene has burped up.
Nobunny’s always been a trickier lyricist than he’s given credit for. A bunny mask will doom you that way. And here his Ramonesy poetry—nasty punk rock put-downs played as aw-shucks high school love letter—takes on some vaguely more sinister turns. Like in “True Vulture”: “Every time a baby dies, and every politician lies, I’m pretty sure that you’re nearby.” In opening track, “Bye Bye Roxie,” Champlin extorts, “The rules are there for you to break.” And while Champlin’s really only bending them on Secret Songs, his rabbit hole continues to get deeper.