Supernova

Pop As a Weapon

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Quick, brisk, to-the-point, and hilarious as all hell, Pop As a Weapon collects the early Supernova singles plus a slew of other tracks from the time to help make the case that the Orange County trio ranks as one of the most underrated acts of the '90s. Quite why they never connected with more folks like the equally wonderful Man or Astro-man? -- with whom the band shared a similar and entertainingly silly fascination with outer space and aliens, if not the same sound -- will have to remain one of the many cosmic mysteries of music. Not organized chronologically but none the worse for that -- if anything, it hangs together pretty well as a stand-alone album -- Pop As a Weapon brims with giddy fun from track to track, from the self-celebratory "Intro/Backyard Boat" to the concluding "Costa Mesa Hates Me, Pt. 2." Part one is there as well, a perverse celebration (but with more outright mockery and frustration) of the band's hometown. The brilliant, snarky debut single, "Long Hair and Tattoos," as perfect and to-the-point a demolition of the rock/loner stereotype as anything recorded, showed that the band had a knack for clipped, herky-jerky punk with fun harmonies that were never soppy. There's the occasional harder-edged song like "Choke the Fuzz," recorded in front of a vocal hometown audience, but the entertaining shout/quaver of the band keeps things from dripping hate so much as conveying a point with a smile. Then there's stuff like "Chewbacca," a celebration of everyone's favorite Star Wars Wookie, another self-celebratory number (in a sometimes slower vein) with "Supersong," and a fun set of liner notes from the band's "retired" fan club president, along with a slew of amusing photos to top it off.

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