From their ironic obsession with the cheesiest elements of 1980s pop culture to their conceptual focus on media satire and pop culture in-jokes, the Young Punx are both aptly named and a credible pair of dance music provocateurs in the manner of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, aka the Timelords and the KLF.
(Indeed, one suspects that this London-based duo has read Drummond and Cauty's tongue-in-cheek recipe for pop success, The Manual [How to Have a Number One the Easy Way], more than once.) The Young Punx are Hal Ritson, a singer and multi-instrumentalist, and Cameron Saunders, a producer and DJ. The duo first appeared in 2003, releasing a string of underground white-label records that were unreleasable through official channels due to the loads of unlicensed samples they were built on. "Dance with Someone Else" (channeling Madonna's "Into the Groove"), "Mash Up, Look Sharp," and the sci-fi film tribute "The Matrix Rebooted" were popular enough on the U.K. dance underground that they crossed over into the musical mainstream, enjoying occasional radio play and much MP3 trading. In 2004, "Got Your Number," a dance novelty based on a popular series of U.K. television adverts for telephone directory assistance, became a full-on club and radio hit despite not getting an official release. (EMI attempted to release the single, but gave up when sample licensing proved too expensive.) The following year, a vitriolic remake of Mylo's indie rock single "Destroy Rock and Roll" called "Destroy Celebrity Crap" called out a parade of vacuous public figures for their vapidity and uselessness, gaining success as a free download. Having made their name as media pranksters, the Young Punx then moved into becoming more traditional pop stars with equally clever but more original singles like 2005's "Young and Beautiful," 2006's "Rockall" (based on samples of the BBC's much-beloved radio shipping forecasts), and 2007's "You've Got To." That year, the Young Punx released their debut album, Your Music Is Killing Me, solidified their position as hip dance music remixers, and formed a proper band for live performances, including guitarist Guthrie Govan and singer Tiffany Gore. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi