June 1, 2012
The Hives - 'Lex Hives'
Back at long last, it’s like they never left
8 / 10
What better way could there possibly be for The Hives to end their four-and-a-half year absence than with a song called ‘Come On!’ that hurtles along at a million miles an hour, lasts one minute, eight seconds and features just the title shouted over and over again? Answer: there is no better way. The message is clear: The Hives are back, and this time it’s… exactly the same as the last time. As Pelle Almqvist told NME a couple of weeks ago: “We’re into the idea of being one of those bands that doesn’t really have to change that much. Like the Ramones or Iron Maiden.”
So the thing with The Hives is, there’s not even really much point in reviewing their albums, simply because their albums are really just adverts to make you want to go and see them be easily the best live band on the planet. But if you’re a stickler for this review business, let it be said that ‘Lex Hives’ is amazing, and that on it you will find 12 songs, three of which are called ‘Go Right Ahead’, ‘I Want More’ and ‘My Time Is Coming’, and all of which are premium-grade cartoon garage-rock in the AC/DC vein, which deep down everyone in the world knows is the best music there is. It also features the best lyric of the year by anyone in the shape of: “You careful types with sort-of lives just won’t know what I mean/When I speed through life like a biblical locust ridin’ on a laser beam”.
Also worth noting: there’s another song called ‘These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics’, which is – as you can probably guess – all about how everyone needs to get out of this classic-album-played-in-full, 20-year-anniversary-of, better-back-then nostalgia rut, and focus on what’s happening today. Now, lots of cynics will likely sneer: “That’s rich coming from the band who sound like they’re straight outta late-’60s Detroit, and themselves ceased to matter about eight years ago.” But that is missing the point in quite spectacular fashion.
The Hives’ true glory – like the bands they list above in whose footsteps they want to follow – lies in their total and utter fashion-and-fad-resistant tunnel vision conviction. This probably goes without saying, but they believe in the redemptive power of loud, dumb, fun, witty, sarcastic, life-affirming scream-along strut’n’roll, and not a lot else. They will be making records like this until they drop dead, and you can bet they will all be as good as this one, the one before it, and the one after it.
Still though: this is the one for right now, and so right now you should go out and get it, then learn the words and get down the front next time The Hives are in your town.
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