The Hives: Lex Hives

hives, lex hivesThe Hives: Lex Hives
In 2000, the Hives released their breakout album, Veni Vidi Vicious. The album, although a critical success, got the band lumped in with the garage rock revival movement which aligned them with bands like Jet and The Vines. Over a decade later, the garage rock revival is dead and The Hives still live as evident with their new Lex Hives.
The Hives sheer existence is not proof that the garage rock revival is still alive and well, rather it is an indictment of the critics who label them that in the first place. Sure both the garage rock revival and the Hives were both shared characteristics like being guitar-driven, energetic, and featuring howling vocals. But where the Hives differed was that their music was always firmly rooted in punk.
Through the Hives first three albums, their music was always punk. It was not until 2007’s The Black and White Album that the Hives severely deviated from their formula. With tracks produced by The Neptunes, the album felt like the Hives attempting to adapt to the times. It received the band’s worst reviews to date.
With that as the backdrop, Lex Hives feels like a return to form. The triumphant opening track, “Come On!” features only the words “come on” but feels like a call to action from the band. What proceeds is a collection of some of the Hives most ferocious songs. The album’s lead single “Go Right Ahead” is a mid-tempo punk anthem reminiscent of The Ramones “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?” complete with similar piano and horn usage. “1000 Answers” is the type of blazing punk track the Hives are known for. The track is actually so Hives that it feels oddly familiar as if they are restating themselves from a previous album. “I Want More” sounds like the bands attempt to re-write Joan Jett‘s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
That is not to say that the band does not show any signs of growth. “Without the Money” is comprised just of organ, guitar, and handclaps. The track sounds like Screamin Jay Hawkins covering the Rolling Stones with its bluesy progression and soulful feel. But much like their cover of Curtis Mayfield‘s “Find Another Girl” on Veni Vidi Vicious, the flourish of non-punk just lasts one song. The rest of the album is populated by driving ferocity that reminds me why I started liking punk as a teenager. While the punk genre has changed over the years (to the disgruntlement of most “punks”), it is nice to hear an album like Lex Hives to remind you that the genre is not dead.
Rating: 8.6/10
MP3: The Hives “1000 Answers” removed by request
Buy: iTunes or buy it at insound!