The Hives are back after five years with their fifth album and to everyone’s excitement, and to no one’s surprise, they haven’t changed one bit. This album is yet another example that they have truly created and perfected their own unique sound. Not only is this album self-produced, but Lex Hives is an ancient Roman phrase which means to create a system of laws and then to adopt them as your own. This is obviously what this band has done. These Swedish garage-rockers seem to have found the secret to never growing old or losing the attention of their fans.
With the retro revival of gritty sounding garage punk in the earlier 2000’s, bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Vines, and The Hives quickly gained popularity. It was with the Tyrannosaurus Hives album that they not only won several awards from NME, MTV, and the Swedish Grammys, but their songs were also featured in video games and films. Since then, these bands have all either matured, changed up their sound, or seem to have disappeared. This is not so for The Hives. They kept touring and kept their energy.
Lex Hives opens with “Come On!” which is a minute and eight seconds of Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist singing just that… almost 60 times. By the end, I wasn’t sure if that was too many times or not enough. A couple of tracks later is “1000 Answers” which a song from The Black And White Album era, but wasn’t released because The Hives thought it sounded “too much like The Hives” for the time being. “Wait A Minute” is an all too catchy beach-like tune, and while most of their songs are recorded all together in a room, this was recorded “from the foundation up.” Their single “Go Right Ahead” is another anthem with an infectious rhythm, sure to get stuck in your head for a day or two. It’s fantastic use of horns also causes it to pleasantly stand out from the norm.
I’m very pleased with Lex Hives. They continue to be fantastically facetious and boisterous. Ladies and gentlemen, rock n’ roll is still alive. Except these days, it’s wearing a tux.