The Hives are hard rockers with a zest for fresh entertainment and out-of-control energy that’s invigorating. The Swedish band rocks the American way: high intensity, ridiculously flaming guitar and glamorously unpredictable lyrics.
Having possibly felt limited by their high-profile record deal with Interscope, the band took to recording for the first time independently. It’s proven to hold some obstacles for the band: a space full of new opportunities might’ve stunted their wisdom in indulging them with newfound freedom. Yet still, there was some middle ground where Lex Hives made good things happen.
After doing some research, we learned that Lex Hives was actually an old phrase surrounding the idea of accepting a new set of laws or ideas as the new status quo. It’s funny how relevant it can be in describing the way the band wanted to reinvent themselves in this new era of their artistry. Their boldness in starting over was honorable.
The Hives totally rock as much as they did in the past, but now the Swedish band rocks in a different way. They spun their sound to a more independent and individual, which was a stretch from their already-special sound. Singer Pelle Almqvist is known as “Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist” because of the signature snarl in his voice, an angry growl that can make any sweet song sound temperate. This has always worked to the band’s advantage, and we’re thankful that in their turnaround, the spite is still there.
The energy is full and it streams through the full extent of Lex Hives, but it turns out to be just like an afternoon with a three-year-old: just as fun as it is exhausting.
Before the listener becomes literally worn out by the throws of European fire, the first half of Lex Hives is thriving. Intro “Come On!” encapsulates just as much excitement as contained in the title’s exclamation point before opening into the full Hives experience on “Go Right Ahead.” Just like the “I Want More” which comes later, hand claps accompany the party-hard recklessness that is too fun to sit out on.
Only until the questionable “Wait A Minute” does the new album remain tolerable. It’s not to say that the rest of Lex Hives is horrid, it’s just a bit too much. There are slower times where the band breaks it down a bit, but we could really use some relief in a changeup or something before the album’s unusual finish. The band should know how hard they hit the stream.
“Midnight Shifter” closes the album with classic surf rock with an alternative spin, taking an oldies sound and incorporating a modern rocking tone that can’t be argued with because of its beaming confidence. It’s a combination that was executed so strongly that it leaves no room for banter.
Other moments don’t flow as nicely. Thrusting onto the track with no intro is the short and unpleasant “These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics,” which stays in the same rut of scream-punk for a dreadful two minutes. This half of the album had significantly less consideration for the fans’ taste. And so Lex Hives finished this way.
The Hives are full of luminosity and character, but this light beams too brightly for a full exposure. We’ll always have some room in our hearts for the Hives, but, regrettably, only so much.