Artist: The Hives
Album: Lex Hives
Tracks: 12 (+2 Bonus Tracks)
Release Date: 1st June 2012
Label: Disque Hives
Having seen their name plastered about the internet, and armed with the knowledge that they are to play the main stage at Reading & Leeds this year, I decided to give The Hives’ latest album Lex Hives a listen. I know nearly nothing about the band, although I now know they’re Swedish and have been around a while, releasing five albums across a 30 year career.
The first thing I think of while listening to The Hives are The Ramones. Lead vocalist ‘Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s voice reminds me of the way that Joey Ramone pronounced his ‘ers’, ‘rs’ and ‘ys’. The songs that helped me identify the comparison were Patrolling Days and These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics. However, these songs are not carbon copies, they still have a fresh sound, but there are undeniable nods at the legendary punk band.
The fourth track of the album, I Want More, is one of the most bizarre, yet exciting rock tracks I’ve heard in a long, long time. It seems to fuse so many inspirations together to create a concoction of rock that pays tribute to some of the genre’s greats. The guitar in the into sounds like something AC/DC guitarist Angus Young could have written, the drums sound like Queen’s We Will Rock You, the singing style, tempo and rhyming-style is reminiscent of Damon Albarn as 2D of Gorillaz and the backing vocals could have been borrowed from U2. It’s an overall great song.
Another song from the album, 1000 Reasons is a very old-school punk song, featuring intentionally messy production and fast-paced guitar licks, played hard and sloppy, and aggressive drums, similar to the 70′s punk bands such as The Sex Pistols or The Buzzcocks. The vocals are harsh and scratchy, packed to the rafters with catchy vocal hooks that conjure up images of sweaty rock clubs and vests and hair spikes kept up with egg whites. It’s the kind of song that you could use for a work-out due to the energy and ferocity of its delivery.
This is an album for all listeners that love the more punk side of the musical spectrum, it’s hard and brutal and helps to fill that gap left in the music industry ever since the British punk wave all got old and hung up their instruments. The only downside is that Lex Hives flies past and before you know it it’s over. That being said, it’s such an enthralling piece of music, drawing a lot of influence from some of the best and most eclectic selection of bands around, the song Wait A Minute sounding like it could be a Blondie track, the song Come On! sounds like something The Heavy would create and 1000 Answers sounds much like an effort from The Vaccines. Many new listeners will feel at home listening to The Hives’ latest studio album, including myself thanks to the similarities to other artists as well as introducing something original and unique.
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