The Hives
Lex Hives


2.5
average

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
June 5th, 2012 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Being the Hives means never having to say you're sorry (or relevant).

For all their talk of being rock’s saviors and how the industry is more about “middle-class guilt and whining” then balls-to-the-wall guitar guts and glory, the Hives are about as status quo as anything in music today, particularly if you think that the power chord and Rocket to Russia are the pinnacles of music achievement in the 20th century. Lex Hives is a warm and comforting security blanket for garage rock fans anxious to turn off those scary new sounds on the radio and embrace the past, and in this respect it’s little different from any of the Hives previous four albums. Given how resistant the band is to change, 2007’s The Black and White Album, which veered dangerously close to *gasp* experimentation, was practically a seismic shift in tone for the band. Lex Hives does away with the newfangled production that they tried out with that record and returns to their roots – a shameless sugar rush of fist-pumping, bass-stomping, garage rock ‘n roll.

So, no one should be surprised when the opening track has a title that encompasses the entire lyric, one which Howlin’ (a well-earned moniker) Pelle Almqvist sings with the abandon of someone who fervently believes that he is the one true savior of rock ‘n roll. It’s refreshing, in a way – Almqvist really gives it his all throughout Lex Hives, nearly to the point of exhaustion, and the band’s shtick, in a vacuum, is just as joyously energetic and unrepressed as it was when they helped ignite the garage resurgence in the early ‘00s. The band’s unerring consistency, though, is also their curse – “1000 Answers,” “Go Right Ahead,” “Wait A Minute,” “If I Had A Cent,” take your pick; all of these could have slotted in without a hitch on Veni Vidi Vicious or Tyrannosaurus Hives.

In that sense, Lex Hives is sort of sad – the band, dressed up in their trademark matching tuxedoes, wailing away on guitar and banging the ever loving crap out of Chris Dangerous’ drum set, Pelle Almqvist emceeing the wildest party he’s ever thrown (ever! He reassures the audience), but the joke’s on them: the party ended long ago and they’re playing to a room of disinterested twenty-somethings with vague memories of “Hate to Say I Told You So” bouncing about in their heads, muscle memory the only thing keeping them going. It’s nostalgic, sure, but it’s just as effective as an album of covers of old Ramones songs that everyone puts on the jukebox from time to time. The songs themselves almost feel like covers, stale renditions filled with buzz saw guitars and tired punk gusto, overplayed over the course of a thirty-minute album that only lets up on the gas pedal with the drunken karaoke sing-along of “Without The Money.” “Go Right Ahead” is a pretty perfect single, in the context of a Hives song – that chorus that just begs to be shouted by every member of the audience, the stop-start drum pattern, the gang vocals all combining into what is the quintessential distillation of what the Hives are all about. Yet, once you’ve heard it, you know that’s what you’re in for with the rest of Lex Hives. The fun fades and the tracks become more taxing, the focus less on the music and more on wondering how Almqvist manages to still keep his voice in such great shape.

“You gotta go from A to Z from when you’re born until you’re dead,” Almqvist sings on “Go Right Ahead,” but he’s singing about something he knows nothing about – the Hives have always been at point A, hammering home their mission on album to album with deadening regularity and the senseless vigor of overage clubbers who don’t know when to get on with their lives. They’ve always prided themselves on being louder, faster, more quick-witted than their contemporaries, but at this point in their career, with their sound becoming a retread of their own, not exactly original, old material, they’re very much in danger of becoming a loudmouthed parody of themselves: still the image of middle-finger-in-the-air rockers but all affected posturing and self-mythologizing, blustery and entirely inconsequential. Rumors of punk’s demise may be exaggerated, but perhaps someone should tell Almqvist and company that it’s long over for them.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 4th 2012


10624 Comments


Honestly forgot that this band existed

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2012


10545 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the more you know, the more you grow

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

bloc
June 4th 2012


35010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Damn you maaaaaaaaaan

Album and band are fun as hell.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2012


10545 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i dk i think i'm one of the rare few who think black and white album was their best work

Ire
June 4th 2012


41822 Comments


i'm loving the summary

bloc
June 4th 2012


35010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Gah you're killing me, klap

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2012


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think you're misunderstanding the purpose of this band, Klapper...

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2012


10545 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

no, i get it. it's just old to me

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2012


7404 Comments


Brilliant review

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2012


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ Rudy: Well I get that, but since it's been 5 years since their last, I'm actually quite happy this is more of the same. A drastic change in sound would've been far worse, I think.

AggravatedYeti
June 5th 2012


7685 Comments


still really dig those first few records.

Tyrael
June 5th 2012


20947 Comments


The joke is up

time for this band to stop making music

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

omnipanzer
June 5th 2012


21646 Comments


I guess I should eventually get one of these guys albums huh?

BigPleb
June 5th 2012


37588 Comments


Its no Ex Lives, that's fo sho.

bloc
June 5th 2012


35010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

No, it's better.

WhiteNoise
June 5th 2012


3244 Comments


"a shameless sugar rush of fist-pumping, bass-stomping, garage rock ‘n roll."

Isn't that all you ever want from The Hives? You seem to judge them harshly for simply being what they are...

I'm pretty excited to pick this up in a few days.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2012


10545 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah which is why this is a 2.5 and not lower. average hives album

Graveyard
June 6th 2012


5807 Comments


are there any tick tick booms on this?

Digging: Prurient - Bermuda Drain

PuddlesPuddles
June 6th 2012


4787 Comments


DiiiIIiIiiIiiiee, all right!!

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2012


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Badum tssj



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