No Jackets

this calls for some tuneskies

The Hives – Lex Hives

Lex Hives is not their greatest achievement – it has a few stand out tracks “Come On” and “Patrolling Days.”  These are both classic Hives tracks, filled with rambunctious energy from the Swedes, who have been a band for nearly 20 years.  The fact that they are just now releasing their fifth studio effort illustrates exactly what this band is all about – Live shows.  Nothing can compare to the energy of the Hives live.  I saw them twice in three days last year and these two gigs still stand out in my memory as the best performances I have seen.

The opening track has been a mainstay of the Hives live show now for some time, and it serves this role of introduction perfectly on the album as well.  Howlin’ Pele’s distinctive voice rings through, supported by Nicholas Arson strumming his guitar like a madman, and the grinding, driving drums creating a perfect storm of pop-punk: Come On really makes you want to get up, dance and scream, even on a lethargic hungover Saturday Sunday  Tuesday night such as this one.

1000 Answers is another catchy track that makes little lyrical sense – a perfect storm as far as The Hives go.  Pele pleads with the listener, “I have a thousand answers, one of them’s gotta be right.”  Particularly pertinent for a recently completed arts graduate with a philosopher minor.

Patrolling Days begins with an addictive guitar hook; followed by the best bridge of the album.  “And with every little step I blow your mind away” matched with calling guitars and responding drums reminds us why we fell in love with the Hives in the first place.  Their sound maintains a garage rock feel while being able to fill a stadium with noise; this coalescence is as unique as the Hives continuously changing uniforms.

The album is seemingly a completion of another chapter in the Hives’ history.  They have conquered the world many times over, and now they are simply riding high, relishing their reputation as the most entertaining band in the world.  For a band that can tour Australia not having released an album for three years and force the entire amphitheater waiting for Kanye West to sit down by sheer force of will, little is unachievable.  Fortunately, this has not led to complacency, and this album still manages to deliver interesting and catchy tracks.

Pele rather mysteriously sings “Without the money their just like me and you”  Ignoring the fact that the Hives are probably now quite well off, despite extensive medical bills at the cause of stage antics.  It is here however we still see the Hives as the young band from a boring industrial town in Sweden, wanting to become the greatest rock band in the world.  That impregnable drive towards greatness is what makes the Hives, it is their self-belief and positive attitude that shines through both on their album and in their live shows.  It is what makes them so great, and makes us love them for doing it.

“I have a plan and they say I can’t but yes I can” Pele declares in My Time is Coming and listening to the band play their damn hearts out everytime they get up on stage, I begin to realise they can.

Arrogance matched by talent is a rare thing – but I really think The Hives do manage to pull it off.  This album however is only a taste, a teaser, a trailer, a fraction of their potential power, their explosive live show expands exponentially from their recorded tracks.

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