The Hives : Lex Hives
The self-coined slogan and Poptones compilation title Your New Favourite Band seems like an ancient dusty memory now, the clever catch phrase buried underneath a slew of releases and the exceptionally lengthy career (18 years!) of The Hives. With that knowledge underneath your cap and the fact the band released three EPs before the breakthrough compilation Your New Favourite Band catapulted them to super stardom in 2001, it’s easier to understand how the band could come to make an album such as Lex Hives and forgive them for a few indiscretions. The fifth studio album from the Swedes see’s the Hives treading more steadily than they were on The Black And White Album; but still precariously exploring various genres – unable to commit absolutely to one direction.
That’s not to say that Lex Hives is a bad album, far from it in fact. When it comes to garage rock‘n roll, there’s no denying that The Hives can pen an exhilarating and adrenaline-charged rocker. It’s what’s sandwiched between these songs that throws a spanner in the works. The album starts off with a paltry call to arms, tritely titled Come On – Pelles’ vocals take their time arriving and waiting for them whilst hearing an unfamiliar voice singing “come on, come on” on repeat is painful. Go Right Ahead attempts to rectify the damage but starting with a Daft Punk style vocal dashes any real hopes of doing so.1000 Answers ticks more boxes, opening with a low mixed punchy guitar riff, followed by the rest of band crashing in a bar later for maximum impact. It’s classic Hives and as the frantic high-hat propels the song, it feels like the soul of Veni Vidi Vicious is being summoned from the depths. I Want More returns Lex Hives dangerously back to mid pace but the dirty blues edge and Pelles’ Iggy Pop (circa The Idiot) style talk singing gives the track some grit and substance. Wait A Minute produces a ‘what were they thinking’ moment – there is yet to be a song that repeats just one phrase over the span of three minutes that is bearable.
After the pop abomination of the aforementioned track, things start to significantly take a turn for the better on Lex Hives. Patrolling Days is anthemic and gutsy, Take Back The Toys is infectiously persistent and Without The Money delivers some reverbed soaked twang, broadening the scope of guitar tones on the album. These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics is bristly and brazen and the energy rolls on through If I Had A Cent – a reminder that feverish rock ‘n’ roll played with an air of desperation is what the Hives do best. Closer Midnight Shifter channels some 50s’ rock ‘n’ roll undercurrents alongside subtle keys and horns and fuses it with 80s’ rock. It’s all handclaps and hip shakin’ and there ‘s a definite nod to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts Do You Wanna Touch Me in the chorus.
Lex Hives starts off shaky, but it finds its’ pace. The bad eggs threaten to bring the whole operation to its knees but the gems shine brightly enough to obscure the less appealing offerings. While it seems that the Hives will never be able to return to their pre major label release glory days, they’re still producing rock ‘n’ roll a cut above the majority of modern day bands trying their hand at the genre.
BY KRYSTAL MAYNARD
Best Track: These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics
If You Like This You'll Like These: THE VICIOUS, INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY, MASSHYSTERI
In A Word: Adequate