After nearly five years without releasing an album of original material, Swedish garage-rock band The Hives are back with Lex Hives. But if you’re not paying attention, you might mistake this album for pretty much all of their other ones.
Tongue out of cheek—anyone who really expects anything different or innovative from The Hives is really missing the point about this band. They have never been a band trying to push the envelope, either lyrically or sonically. They are a band that plays punk-influenced garage rock, not necessarily because of some fist-shaking vendetta against the world, but ‘cause it’s fun. This is music to rock out to, to dance to, to chant to. A bit of angst is to be expected, but go do your brooding somewhere else.
And so it’s no crime that Lex Hives is not some groundbreaking, evolutionary breakthrough for the band; it’s not supposed to be. Don’t look for deep lyrics, complex chord changes, or experimental sounds. Instead, look for frenetic beats, repetitive lyrics and strained chants. As evidence, I submit the lyrics from the opening song: “Come on! Come on! Come on! Come on! Come on!…” In fact, no less than sixty “Come ons” packed into just over a minute of music. It’s as if from the very first track, the band is defying the critics, setting the bar so low as to utterly annoy reviewers while encouraging a flurry of fist-pumps from the fans. It’s just the sort of thing that Hives fans will love, because it’s the stuff they loved about them from the start.
I could go on about the track list, but there’s no need. Some songs are faster than others, some slower, some are slightly less repetitive lyrically—but they all serve basically the same purpose: to make you want to go see The Hives perform these songs live. Because the only thing more fun than hearing these songs on your ipod or turntable would be to go to a show and enjoy these songs with a crowd.
‘Cause that’s what The Hives are about. Why would you expect anything different?
ALBUM RATING: 3 Stars (out of five)