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Album #344: Hypernova – Through the Chaos

  • Released: 2010
  • Origin: Tehran, Iran
  • Label: Narnack
  • Best Track: Empty Times

Sad as it might seem, I keep a map of the bands I’m covering in this blog. Currently, there’s a big gap in the Middle East, hence I’m turning to Iranian rock band Hypernova today.

The band relocated to New York and use pseudonyms instead of their real names, perhaps because what they’re doing on Through the Chaos – i.e. rocking out – is kind of illegal in their native Tehran. They’re a very rare example of an Arab nation rock band to have gained some traction in the West, having featured in the game Rock Band 3 and toured with Sisters of Mercy.

That alone is a triumph really and I wanted to like this album, but I’m afraid I didn’t. For a start, the vocals, which I found pleasantly quirky and Elvis Costello-esque on opening track, become increasingly flat and lifeless as the album goes on.

“Time flies, but so do aeroplanes” is one of the oddest opening lines to an album I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t decide whether it was great or terrible, but generally, the lyrics on this album are pretty bad. It feels mean, bordering on xenophobic even, to have a go at a band’s lyrics when they’re not even singing in their first language, but really, it’s difficult to enjoy lines like “everything you do comes back to haunt you, and that’s just how the story always goes” in the chorus of ‘Empty Times’, and the silly and trite “mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest motherfucker of them all” on ‘Fairy Tales’. I’d prefer it if they just sang in their native language, which I’m guessing is Persian.

The two tracks I’ve mentioned are probably the best on the album though, although I’m not sure how comfortable I am with ‘Fairy Tales’ lusting over a 17-year-old girl and seemingly revelling in its tabooism. ‘Empty Times’ is passable – a more downbeat number with some likable keyboard hooks.

It seems Hypernova are still classed as active, but this remains their only album and is now a decade old. It tries to work through a variety of styles and some of the riffs are decent, but really, this record was not fun to listen to.

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