The Hives, Lex Hives

Published on July 10th, 2012 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, New Music Tuesday, Reviews |

By Julie Finley

lex hives cover

What can be said about The Hives that hasn’t already been said? If you are reading this, this is probably not the first time you’ve ever heard of them—and it won’t be the last! If you like them at all, you pretty much know what you’re in for, and what you’re in for is FUN! The word “fun” describes The Hives very accurately (much more so than that lame band actually known as Fun). They aren’t a band that you listen to for technical or lyrical prowess (and I’m not discrediting their musicianship or lyrics by saying that, either). The Hives are a band that you like because they achieve the goal of making the listener happy! The Hives aren’t a band you sit around listening to whilst brooding, because if you are brooding whilst listening to The Hives, you need many MANY years of therapy!

With that said, how does The Hives latest release, Lex Hives, measure up? I would have to say extremely well, and on par with what you’ve come to expect from them. Keeping up their formula without succumbing to industry pressure to change is challenging, but the only thing they’ve changed is their attire.

Yes, their signature black and white uniform is still intact. This time, they’re wearing tuxedos with tails and top hats! They seem to up the ante with the visual element for every album, and this latest garb is impressive. Also, The Hives are a band that you MUST see live. I am very grateful that I have had that chance before, because Howlin’ Pelle is a fabulous frontman!

Back to Lex Hives: The band actually did add a little extra ingredient to their classic formula, that being a heavy dose of ’70s glam rock, and it tastes great! The album opens with “Come On!” which isn’t a song where you’ll hear any deep lyrics because it’s basically a classic rave-up that gets you ready for action! I can clearly picture them opening their shows with this, and it would be appropriate. The second track (and first video) “Go Right Ahead” opens with the perfect howl from Pelle. When I first listened to it, I didn’t know this was going to be the first single, but it was quite obvious that it should be, because it’s really catchy and an instant hit. It clearly evokes a melodic hook from ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” but it also has that stomping backbeat element that evokes Gary Glitter, but both executed in HIVES-fashion!

Other stand-outs on this include: “I Want More,” which has some spoken-word going on and is hilariously snotty. It’s a very arrogant anthem, and includes a rap that reminded me of Billy Squier’s “The Stroke.” “Wait A Minute” adds a dose of unexpected harmonies (something that The Hives don’t usually do), and is quite Queen-like! Like I said, there are a lot of ’70s elements to this record, but not shitty ’70s music.

One of my favorites is a song more typical of the Hives’ sound, but lyrically and melodically I can’t get this one out of my head—”Patrolling Days.” I’ve found myself singing this one out loud when I’m busy doing other shit; its ridiculously catchy! “Without The Money” evokes more of a Baptist sermon, complete with a Hammond Organ accenting the punchlines.

The lyrics to “These Spectacles Reveal the Nostalgics” had me laughing out loud, because it not only uses the typical Hives’ arrogant revelations, but is tongue-in-cheek; the band makes fun of themselves in the same breath by ripping on the whole concept of retro, but yet as self-deprecating as this song is, they still manage to come out as the clear winners!

Another stand-out is “My Time is Coming,” which starts with a growl and macabre premonition. It’s probably the most serious song, lyrically-speaking, and the only slight departure from the Hives’ formula. “If I Had A Cent” made me burst out in hysterics, because lyrically, I can totally relate! The finale is the track “Midnight Shifter” and it’s the perfect anthem/epilogue. They actually used saxophones in this one, another ’70s element that they hadn’t really used extensively before.

The Hammond Organ and sax, mixed with the heavy bass and march/stomping drums in unison are a new element, but a very welcome one. It works well with what The Hives have already achieved as a signature sound, but this gives it a bigger sound. They’ve graduated from the garage to an episode of The Old Grey Whistle Test or Musikladen.

If you like The Hives . . . BUY LEX HIVES NOW!

Lex Hives was released on June 5 by Independent Label Group/Warner Music Group and is available to order from the band’s website.

Tour Dates:

20 July 2012 – Lichtenwoorde, Netherlands / Zwarte Cross Festival
21 July 2012 – Porto, Portugal / Mare Vives Festival
27 July 2012 – Piteå, Sweden / Dansar & Ler
28 July 2012 – Östersund, Sweden / Storsjöyran
11 August 2012 – Fagersta, Sweden / Rock Med Livstid
17 August 2012 – St Pölten/Vienna, Austria / Frequency Festival
18 August 2012 – Hasselt, Belgium / Pukkelpop
22 August 2012 – Malmö, Sweden / Malmö Festivalen
24 August 2012 – UK: Reading Festival / UK: Richfield Avenue, Reading Festival
25 August 2012 – UK: LEEDS FESTIVAL / Bramham Park, Leeds Festival
06 September 2012 – Vancouver, BC / Commodore Ballroom
07 September 2012 – Seattle, WA / Showbox SoDo
08 September 2012 – Portland, OR / Wonder Ballroom, Musicfest NW
10 September 2012 – Oakland, CA / Fox Theater
11 September 2012 – Santa Ana, CA / The Observatory
13 September 2012 – Las Vegas, NV / The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – The Pool
14 September 2012 – Los Angeles, CA / The Wiltern
16 September 2012 – Denver, CO / Red Rocks Amphitheatre
—93.3’s Big Gig: The Hives, Silversun Pickups, 3Oh!3, The Wombats, 4:30pm
21 September 2012 – Stockholm, Sweden / Gröna Lund
20 November 2012 – Berlin, Germany / Columbiahalle *with special guests The Bronx
21 November 2012 – Cologne, Germany / Palladium*
22 November 2012 – Hamburg, Germany / Docks*
24 November 2012 – Munich, Germany / Kesselhaus*
27 November 2012 – Wiesbaden, Germany / Schlachthof*
28 November 2012 – Amsterdam / Melkweg Max*
29 November 2012 – Paris, France / Le Zenith*
30 November 2012 – Bordeaux , France / Médoquine*
01 December 2012 – Madrid, Spain / Riviera*
02 December 2012 – Barcelona, Spain / Razzmatazz*
04 December 2012 – Milan, Italy / Alcatraz*
05 December 2012 – Zurich, Switzerland / Komplex*
06 December 2012 – Lyon, France / Le Transbordeur*
07 December 2012 – Lille, France / Láeronef*
09 December 2012 – Brussels, Belgium / AB*
10 December 2012 – Bristol, UK / O2 Academy
11 December 2012 – Birmingham, UK / O2 Academy
13 December 2012 – Glasgow, Scotland / O2 ABC
14 December 2012 – London, UK / Roundhouse
15 December 2012 – Manchester, UK / Manchester Academy

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