Review : The Hives - Lex Hives
SputnikmusicFor all their talk of being rock’s saviors and how the industry is more about “middle-class guilt and whining” then balls-to-the-wall guitar guts and glory, the Hives are about as status quo as anything in music today, particularly if you think that the power chord and Rocket to Russia are the pinnacles of music achievement in the 20th century. Lex Hives is a warm and comforting security blanket for garage rock fans anxious to turn off those scary new sounds on the radio and embrace the past, and in this respect it’s little different from any of the Hives previous four albums. Given how resistant the band is to change, 2007’s The Black and White Album, which veered dangerously close to *gasp* experimentation, was practically a seismic shift in tone for the band. Lex Hives does away with the newfangled production that they tried out with that record and returns to their roots – a shameless sugar rush of fist-pumping, bass-stomping, garage rock ‘n roll.
So, no one should be surprised when the opening track has a title that encompasses the entire lyric, one which Howlin’ (a well-earned moniker) Pelle Almqvist sings with the abandon of someone who fervently believes that he is the one true savior of rock ‘n roll. It’s refreshing, in a way – Almqvist really gives it his all throughout Lex Hives, nearly to the point of exhaustion, and the band’s shtick, in a vacuum, is just as joyously energetic and unrepressed as it was when they helped ignite the garage resurgence in the early ‘00s. The band’s unerring consistency, though, is also their curse – “1000 Answers,” “Go Right Ahead,” “Wait A Minute,” “If I Had A Cent,” take your pick; all of these could have slotted in without a hitch on Veni Vidi Vicious or Tyrannosaurus Hives.
In that sense, Lex Hives is sort of sad – the band, dressed up in their trademark matching tuxedoes, wailing away on guitar and banging the ever loving crap out of Chris Dangerous’ drum set, Pelle Almqvist emceeing the wildest party he’s ever thrown (ever! He reassures the audience), but the joke’s on them: the party ended long ago and they’re playing to a room of disinterested twenty-somethings with vague memories of “Hate to Say I Told You So” bouncing about in their heads, muscle memory the only thing keeping them going. It’s nostalgic, sure, but it’s just as effective as an album of covers of old Ramones songs that everyone puts on the jukebox from time to time. The songs themselves almost feel like covers, stale renditions filled with buzz saw guitars and tired punk gusto, overplayed over the course of a thirty-minute album that only lets up on the gas pedal with the drunken karaoke sing-along of “Without The Money.” “Go Right Ahead” is a pretty perfect single, in the context of a Hives song – that chorus that just begs to be shouted by every member of the audience, the stop-start drum pattern, the gang vocals all combining into what is the quintessential distillation of what the Hives are all about. Yet, once you’ve heard it, you know that’s what you’re in for with the rest of Lex Hives. The fun fades and the tracks become more taxing, the focus less on the music and more on wondering how Almqvist manages to still keep his voice in such great shape....full text
IndependenTrack one on Lex Hives consists of Pelle Almqvist shouting "come on!" approximately 58 times. If you don't think this is brilliant, then this is probably not for you.
Like the Ramones or Motörhead, the Hives are commendably unchanging. You know exactly what to expect: high-energy, hugely entertaining garage rock. And, with the odd exception, that's what they deliver. If Lex Hives has one fault, it's that it makes you want to switch it off, go straight out and see the Hives live....full text
ThelineofbestfitThe Hives are a law unto themselves. They didn’t think there was a rock ‘n’ roll band out there that met their standards, so they went and formed it. Unlike their noughties indie rock peers like Mando Diao and The Strokes, they never dressed like an NME focus group but like the fucking professionals they were. They called their first UK release Your New Favourite Band, and they worked with both Josh Homme and Pharrell Williams.
Fittingly, they have titled their new album Lex Hives, which roughly translates as “Hives’ Law”.
It’s been five years since the release of The Black and White Album, which was a move away from the tried and trusted 100mph garage punk of yore. Disco and soul elements were supplemented by a more subtle production, resulting in critical acclaim as well as a shot in the arm for the band themselves.
Lex Hives is a continuation of this approach. There are no break-neck punk grenades in the vein of ‘Untutored Youth’, no matter how much opener ‘Come On!’ wants to tell you otherwise. A throwaway hype maker with artificial crowd noise and a frenetic tempo, it’s out of step with the rest of the album, which is a lot more nuanced and, ultimately, more rewarding for it.
One of the many brilliant things about The Hives is the that they were obviously conceived as a kind of dapper, Scandinavian hybrid of the two best punk rock bands ever – The Ramones and The Stooges. But in 2012, there is more to them than that. ‘Wait A Minute’, for example, is a great New Wave pastiche of the kind fellow Swedes The Sounds nailed on their first couple of albums. The delicious synth swabs in the bridge help to build the tension, and the nasal harmonies in the chorus recall ’80s icon and one-time collaborator Cyndi Lauper. ‘My Time is Coming’, with its nervy, reverb-heavy guitar channels surf rock compilations and features Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist singing about the sweet taste of hard-earned success with the fervor of a Baptist preacher....full text
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