The Hives - Lex Hives
Record Label: Disques Hives
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Let's be honest. The Swedish garage-rock quintet The Hives aren't much for substance. There's no deeply literate lyrics, no nuanced guitar lines, and well, not much that's thought-provoking. In place of that, the group has made a career of writing songs that are scruffy, brash and bombastic. And for a short time, they did it as well as anybody. Back after a five-year layoff, they return with Lex Hives, a fist-pumping, hip-swerving rock record that roars with energy and makes for a most exuberant return to form.
From front to back, Lex Hives serves up hyper-caffeinated garage rock accentuated by thunderous drums, hissing guitars and vocalist Howlin' Pelle Almqvist's neo-Jagger swagger. Self-produced, self-played, self-released and self-promoted, Lex Hives opens with the crackling, if not repetitive, intro "Come On!," before diving into the riveting and rowdy lead single, "Go Right Ahead." From there, its one brazen track after the other. "1,000 Answers," is resolute and determined; while "I Want More," is punchy and urgent. " Wait a Minute," stakes its claim as a potential second single, 'while "Patrolling Days," piggybacks on the determined grit of "1,000 Answers." At 4:01 it's also the album's longest song by at least 60 seconds.
For those that yearn for The Hives circa 2001, look no further than the hissing and angry "Take Back the Toys," in which Almqvist sounds downright pissed off and growls as jubilantly as any other offering on here. On the organ-drenched "Without the Money," the band actually puts their best foot forward. Laid-back, sleepy and yet somehow sonorous, there's something centrifugal and pivotal about the song. Restraint when employed correctly can be a fitting blessing and the 2-minute track is exactly that. If the album has one hiccup it is the spiky and banal "These Spectacles Reveal the Nostalgics," a straightforward punk song that could have made by any band in any garage in any corner of the world. The disc's final triumvirate comes in the form of "My Time is Coming, "If I Had a Cent, and "Midnight Shifter," with the latter being the strongest of the three.
On the whole, Lex Hives is aggressive, straightforward and melodic. All 12 tracks sizzle with tenacity and confidence. In addition, there's a bevy of call-and-response hooks and a nod to British titans such as The Rolling Stones and Queen. Hell, even lead single "Go Right Ahead," borrows a riff from Electric Light Orchestra. And while many will argue that Lex Hives lacks originality. in the end, the disc is a half hour of power and a most triumphant listen. The Hives are The Hives are The Hives. Unwavering, resolute and honest to their craft. That kind of determination should be rewarded. It's been a long time since music last had a Mick Jagger. Howlin' Pelle Almqvist just might be it. If anything, Lex Hives proves that.
I love this album. If I Had A Cent and Take Back The Toys are my favourites right now. I saw them live last month and it was the greatest show I've ever seen. Howlin' Pete has the best stage presence in the world
Just as good. But I think the big songs on here, such as "Go Right Ahead," "1,000 Answers," "I Want More," and "Take Back the Toys," are just as strong, if not stronger, than anything on there.
Well, I love Tick Tick Boom and think it's their best song right after Hate to Say I Told You So... I don't love the new album... Yet. But it's been growing on me, so who knows. I'm actually happy so many people like it this much.
You're right about The Hives lacking substance. They really do lack creativity too, unfortunately. Hell, you admit the single uses an ELO riff. For me, the uptempo songs are okay in small doses -- I'd normally stick with the singles, but can't get into 'Go Right Ahead' -- but the slower tracks only highlight their lyrical infantism.
I love this record, but also admit that The Hives always write songs I love. I don't understand why their simple approach to everything could be viewed as a negative. I hear a lot of Joey Ramone in the vox throughout the record.