The Hives first broke with 2001’s Veni Vidi Vicious and over a decade later, they haven’t changed much. Thank God. Their newest album, Lex Hives, was released today and greeted with none of the fanfare the band was showered with when they played on the VMAs with The White Stripes and The Vines. They haven’t released an album since 2007’s The Black and White Album, which was stretched past the garage rock Hives fans had gotten used to by that point. By no means was Black and White a bad album but at times it was just too sprawling. Looking back at it through a 5-year window it’s not a stretch to suggest the band was bored with the corner they’d painted themselves into.
If we’re sticking to that speculation, Lex Hives is the album the band might’ve been trying to make with The Black and White Album. It’s a loud, exciting album. Just ask the Hives, lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist (I still remember how to spell that from writing it on my books in middle school) is known for his charming arrogance and on Lex Hives it’s appropriate. Almqvist is the highlight of the album, at times sneering and dipping into his Swedish bellow. But on songs like “Without the Money” and “My Time is Coming” he sounds like a 1950s Iggy Pop, at once powerful and dangerous.
The Hives are a great party band. Their black and white-only shirt and tie shtick is cartoony in true Ramones fashion and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them prancing around in a small club or on a main stage at Lollapalooza. With Lex Hives, they could burn down either venue.
UPDATE: Paste Magazine has video of the band discussing every track off Lex Hives. If this doesn’t at least make you smile it might be time to reevaluate things a little.