Since we’re on a Swedish kick, figured it made solid sense to Evaluate the new one by the “Hey YA!”-inspiring, Madden-and-Nike approved Hives. The quintet’s fourth album continues the garage revival, surely, but also mixes in more than a few curve balls. Whoever thought we’d bring up Rain Dogs and Pelle Almqvist in the same sentence? Throw in heavy doses of preacher-mode Ian Svenonius, too. Definitely dig the rush of first single “Tick Tick Boom” (and its blown up video) despite its commercial-licensing overkill. On The Black And White Album it’s followed by two other effective, but slightly-less-infectious shredders, “Try It Again” (all Make-Up talky) and the anthemic-as-fuck “You Got It All… Wrong.” Then, before long, them there curve balls start showing their zany little faces.

It’s ultimately, a more produced sound, and there are more sounds in general. The biggest experiments include mellow organ-and-drum machine instrumental “A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors,” which sounds like it’s title suggests — all kinda one-ring circus, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” and Larry Ferrari. It sorta goes nowhere … and we love it for that very reason … nice break. The equally jaunty “Puppet On A String” is built around noisemakers (like the kind you’d have on New Year’s), piano, and some group caroling. Over a slow drum machine pulse and a bit of the real deal, “Giddy Up” has a sorta Jon Spencer thing going with it’s preach-on vocals, but also some DEVO repetitions of the song title and “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” sound effects. Any good? No, not really.

On other tracks like the funky Pharrell-produced “T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S,” the hybridization’s more successful. Or check out the surreal breakdowns and “Lust For Life” choiring of “Well Allright!” … totally fun (and, yeah, see Ian S. again, too). The Jacknife Lee production has it all sounding shiny — see, for instance, the accents on absolutely Strokes-sounding “It Won’t Be Long.” Wait, do you hear some Bono in there, too? Weird.

All this aforementioned experimentation’s appreciated — no one likes to stagnate — but in the end, the Estrus-style straight garage like “Square One Here I Come” (though this one actually sounds kinda too much like a made-for-an-iPod-commercial jam) or better yet the raucously boozy, raved-up sing-a-long “You Dress Up For Armageddon” (again, more fucking Danzig!) are the band’s total bread and butter, the Hives at their best. So, hey, dudes, maybe just pen some tighter tunes within the original template?

The Black And White Album is out 11/13 on Interscope. Victory.

Comments (14)
  1. EnchantingWizardofRhythm  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    I love the Hives…I hate this album. They’re a ‘one trick pony’ and they should stick to what they know best instead of trying to please everyone. Very disappointed…oh well…

  2. Jacket  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    I love the Hives…I hate you.

    Also the album is fantastic

  3. The Other Matthew  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    Or, you know, maybe they’re actually growing as artists and human beings, and they’ve gotten beyond the “one-trick pony” sound.

    Meh, just a thought. I like the last two albums.

  4. joni  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    can’t believe these guys are still around

    shit sandwich.

  5. Jesse  |   Posted on Oct 26th, 2007 0

    The Hives are law. You are crime.

  6. randy  |   Posted on Oct 27th, 2007 0

    The Hives are definitely a guilty pleasure for me.
    Esp Try It Again and Hey Little World off this album.

  7. west  |   Posted on Oct 27th, 2007 0

    One of the more disappointing of the year for me. Not bad but kind of like Our Love To Admire. I’d have liked it a lot if the band had never made another album prior.

  8. Liam  |   Posted on Oct 27th, 2007 0

    I just wished they hadn’t pussied out on calling the album “The World’s First Perfect Album” like they said they were going to.

  9. john  |   Posted on Oct 27th, 2007 0

    really fun album

  10. Amighty  |   Posted on Oct 27th, 2007 0

    It’s still better than what they did to the Mooney Suzuki.

  11. daveisok  |   Posted on Oct 27th, 2007 0

    if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    well done gents, a solid listen all around.

  12. Pretty big letdown in my eyes, Tyrannosaurus Hives was nearly perfect and they didn’t even come close to matching it.

  13. Dfactor  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2007 0

    Spot on – the ‘anthemic-as-fuck “You Got It All… Wrong” is JUST SO PERFECT. Couple of other good fast rockers, but the weird tracks are….just weird… T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S is so shite, it reminds me of Adam & The Ants old doozy A.N.T.R.A.P

  14. Nick  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2007 0

    Must say I like their albums better and better, the sound and production are increasingly improving. Listen and smile! Although some songs (well three actually) are sticking out too much and are more fun/interesting than actually good The rest, however, is magic, catchy rock! Play it loud on a good stereo and there will be party!

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