• Supernova
  • Ages 3 and Up (Amphetamine Reptile/Atlantic) 1995 

The three guys of Supernova — Art (bass), Dave (drums) and Jo (guitar) — would have you believe they came from the planet Cynot 3, landed on Earth and formed a rock band in order to capture the world’s supply of tinfoil. Onstage, they dress up in Speedos and super-hero capes, shave geometric shapes into their heads like some demented basketball team and wrap themselves in, that’s right, tinfoil. If Supernova sounds like a novelty act, at heart it is. But rarely has a novelty act rocked with such conviction or been so incisively funny.

On the basis of Ages 3 and Up, one would guess that the Cynotions (or Costa Mesans, where the California trio actually resides) heard much the same music growing up as the members of Green Day, CIV and the Offspring. The trio’s songs (20 in just under 40 minutes here) are short and catchy, all buzzsaw guitars and raspy vocals. With little chance (or need) for musical or lyrical development, tunes start, make their point and sprint to the finish, flinging off satiric lyrics playing on the flotsam of media culture as they go. “Mentos” is a fantasy about being the star of a candy-mint commercial; “Vitamins” advises listeners to take ’em “two by two”; the subject of “Oreo” is, well, cookies. Great fun, but even a good joke is hard to tell twice.

[Steven Mirkin]