Hives : Your New Favourite Band

Retro skills from Sweden...

Clearly, the odds on [a]Hives[/a] reducing the rock firmament to a ground-zero style rubble remain about as good as those on catching Lee Bowyer at an [a]Asian Dub Foundation[/a] gig, but you gotta admit, they sure know how to retrogress.

Much like their Swedish descendants The Creeps (whose late-’80s classic ‘Enjoy The…’ is a must have for happenin’ [a]Hives[/a]-heads) [a]Hives[/a] rip up the

6T’S garage songbook with a loving joy which never allows them to see the

serious side of the entire caper. This, of course, is where Alan McGee, the shrewdest of pop recyclists, comes in. Yet for all the current media

bluster, comparisons with the [a]Strokes[/a], the [a]Vines[/a] and the erm, [a]White Stripes[/a]

are erroneous. [a]Hives[/a] are pure pastiche.

Normally, the demand for such modern day retroid pleasures is catered for by

the splendid and devotional Detour label, who could happily dig up a bunch of Argentinian seventeen year olds obsessed with The Pretty Things if you wanted them to, but occasionally one such beat-pack breaks cover and, encouraged by a bewildered mainstream media, makes a desperate dash for the zeitgeist.

Self-sonsciousness is not an issue. From the off, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist leads his troops through a sepia-drenched garage minefield with an admirable zeal. [I]’Do what I please/gonna spread the disease!'[/I] he barks on an opening ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, and he gets ever more worked-up until a splenetic ‘Hail Hail Spit’ N ‘Drool’ which could rival anything in the [a]Ramones[/a] back catalogue for numbskull intent. By the final instrumental ‘The Hives Are Law, You Are Crime’, you get the impression Pelle has been

stretchered off to the nearest field hospital, mind scrambled by detonating

[a][/a] riffs.

Consequently, if you’re the sort of person who is unable to name a single

flower or tree you pass-by in your daily life but could recite the evolving

line-up of the [a][/a] from memory, take note. Dust off your

winklepickers. Put on your cravat. There’s an album to buy.

Jason Fox