Through the Chaos

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The most striking thing about the music of Hypernova is that it exists at all. The quartet came together in the underground music scene of Tehran, Iran, where the band literally risked its life and liberty to play Western rock. The band's guitar-playing lead vocalist and lyricist, Raam (the bandmembers only use one name, perhaps to protect the lives of their families who still live in Iran), lived in the Eugene, OR area for several years and has a better command of English and American vernacular than a lot of songwriters who have adopted the language of rock for their music. They now live in Brooklyn and have toured nationwide, gathering much critical attention, but again mostly because they come from Iran. Hypernova have definitely studied their Joy Division, Psychedelic Furs, and Chameleons albums, blending those influences with a bit of bouncy uptempo new wave dance-rock. They haven't yet transcended their influences, but that's also true of many bands based in the U.S. and U.K. What they do have is an awareness of the political potential of rock, and they use it to celebrate the liberation they're found in their adopted country. On "Viva la Resistance," an industrial new rave rave-up, Raam sings "The boys, they're a shouting and the girls, they're a dancing, and it ain't no fucking crime," although in their homeland it is. "American Dream" rides a simple I-IV-V progression to celebrate the contradictions of life in America, albeit with faintly clich├ęd lyrics. They fare better when they drop a bit of ironic humor into the mix, as they do on "Fairy Tales," an ode to underage sex and rebellion taken at a blistering pace, and "Monster in Me," a credible Psychedelic Furs meets Sex Pistols pastiche.

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