Review Summary: The best thing to come from Sweden since the sausages and the fish. . .
The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
Review by Clumpy
"Tyrannosaurus Hives" is a half-hour rock maelstrom that commences with the crashing force of a tornado and ends just as abruptly. Raw and refined, it hearkens back to days of yore, but The Hives are more than The Stooges with a new coat of paint; they are modern in every way and set on world domination.
The band's monikers reflect their sensibilities: frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, for one, fully earns his name (at the expense, one might suspect, of his vocal cords). Fellow musicians Vigilante Carlstroem, Dr. Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous and Nicholaus Arson fulfill their roles admirably and confidently. Knowledge of this band's image complements the music - these five Swedes can rock, and they know it. Peep this album's cover and you'll have all of the education you need before you plunge in. (DISCUSSION QUESTION: How hot do you think that those black-and-white suits get under the stage lights?)
So - on to the music. As mentioned previously, "Tyrannosaurus Hives" is barely a half-hour long, but it's time used effectively. Each song rages in, throws its punches, and leaves without overstaying its welcome. Opener "Abra Cadaver" is barely a minute and a half long, yet it's one of the most addictive rock songs that I've heard in a long time.
The songwriting is much more subtle and melodic than ever before. Many of the songs feel almost like new wave punk, intense and subversive. Bouncy "A Little More For Little You" carries an almost skalike vibe into the band's formidable formula, chorusing with a killer melodic transition. The wonderfully-disharmonic "Diabolic Scheme" is more pointed paranoia: almost Bond-like during its epic, spooky chorus. The songs are all fast and hard, but shouldn't grate on you - every song is wonderful in its own way. It's some of the tightest, most disciplined music you will ever hear - a half-hour you'll want to relive again and again.
The lyrics are accusatory and effective. From previously-mentioned "Diabolic Scheme":
"That's me all right, like purity white, and like viciousness black - I give a little then I take it back ... Well, from greatness to greatness is where I span - You have me for a moment, grab on while you can..."
Some delightful anger from barnburner "B is For Brutus":
". . . you got a hunch - Well, that's always something . . . Climb up the ladder then see what you've got - But if you do it, do it good, Brutus - real good! Like a little man should! ..."
Even the love songs pack their power. "Love in Plaster" mourns like a jilted lover's diary, finally hitting its frenzy for the brief chorus. The song manages to remain emotional while obliterating your speakers.
The Hives are completely unique and pack into this album as many twists and turns and as much sheer speed as an offroad Grand Prix. Pick up this King Rex and gawk at the fruits of an endangered species: a good, aggressive rock band that takes its music seriously enough NOT to take itself too seriously.
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