The Hives are well versed in simplicity. The group’s specialty hasn’t ever strayed too far from a catchy hook and fifty words are less. I’m not knocking it either, it actually comes across as something that would be challenging. Mainstream pop artists aren’t as good as The Hives are at creating a hook that fits one specific niche. In the group’s first album in five years they’re back to their old tricks and if you like this band, then you’ll the group’s new record, Lex Hives.
The new album absolutely scorches through from start to finish. The first track, “Come On!” is a solid audience open and a minute long track that’s the perfect ramp up to approximately half an hour with of bouncy and addictive Swedish rock. The last track is an audience close titled “Midnight Shifter” that ends the album with an appropriate live closing. In that sense, Lex Hives is put together perfectly. Between the proper opening and closings, the middle of the record just pounds you over the head with rock track after rock track and even though there aren’t really any segue ways to speak of, it feels like you’re listening to one giant piece of music instead of twelve individual ones. This album is cohesive and put together perfectly, it’s a true album in its purest form.
If The Hives making a true album is this new album’s biggest strength then it’s also a bit of a weakness. There isn’t really a single or a couple of singles to serve as legs to hold it up. People are either going to like everything or nothing with this album. It’ll fall flat or magically levitate. There’s no in between.
With The Hives’ last album, The Black and White Album, they made their anthem. “Tick Tick Boom” is one of if not the track that this band will be known for twenty years from now. It was time for them to make an album, and for better or worse that’s what they did with Lex Hives. I’m not sure it’s the best stuff that this band has releases but it definitely has it’s place among it’s avid group of international fans.