After exploding onto the scene with Veni Vidi Vicious and best-of Your New Favourite Band, Swedish rock band The Hives delivered a couple more solid records before coming back in 2012 with Lex Hives.
As their first self-produced album post-fame, Lex Hives had the pressure of popping up 5 years after the band’s last effort and, by that point, UK and US audiences pretty much wrote off The Hives as little more than two-hit wonders who kicked ass back in the early Noughties so this one needed to be something special.
And something special it certainly was!
The first track, “Come On!” has simple lyrics to say the least. In fact, the words “Come on!” are basically it. Luckily, the song is a short and sweet adrenaline shot of punk energy that opens things on a perfect, fun note and leaves you wanting more straight away. If this playful minute-long opener doesn’t hook you in right there and then, then you are one hard person to please. I mean… come on!
“Go Right Ahead” is the first single to be released from the album and it’s an enjoyable track with a 70’s beat, a catchy repeated backing hook and a rockabilly-ish chorus. The whole thing has an old-fashioned feel, in a good way. The fun continues with a faster-paced and, therefore, very Hives song, “1000 Answers”. This one is a cool, punky tune with a killer chorus which elevates it to one of the best tracks on the album. Also look out for some experimental distorted electronic sounds creeping in the background.
“I Want More” is a slower track with lower-toned vocals and a paced beat. It’s another old-fashioned one and although it’s not as catchy as the tracks preceding it, it’s still very entertaining and should be a fun one to jump up and down to at concerts. The single “Wait A Minute” is next and it’s another instantly spot-on track: loads of fun and catchy as hell. The song develops beautifully, with creative bridges, breaks and key changes throughout. It’s easily one of the best of the bunch.
Song number 6 is “Patrolling Days”, a punky track with some welcome Ramones-esque attitude crossed with some Iggy & The Stooges-style energy. It never feels too derivative, thankfully, and never forgets to be purely a Hives song. All in all, it’s edgier and pretty damn cool. As for “Take Back The Toys”, we’re back in classic Hives territory and the track is like an updated and frankly better version of their classic “Hate To Say I Told You So”: it’s grittier, more varied and boasts just as much charm as their old hit.
“Without The Money” follows and, after opening with a strangely sexy beat, it then turns into more of a simple march, going back to that original beat near the end. It’s a short transitional track with some brilliant lyrics which show the band’s dry sense of humour perfectly. This leads us to “These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics”, a two-minute-long fast-paced punk track with lots of attitude and lots of energy. What more could you ask for?
“My Time Is Coming” is a little different. After a low-voiced, dramatic intro evoking Tom Waits and The Smashing Pumpkins somehow, the song develops into some kind of screamy gospel rock tune almost. An odd direction for it to go, granted, but it works. The next song is “If I Had A Cent” and that one’s simply all about the fantastic chorus. Parts of this one have a weird Oingo Boingo quality in terms of Pelle Almqvist’s mouthy vocals but, mostly, this is another kickass, rough rock track.
“Midnight Shifter” has a 60’s soul quality and its lighter feel makes it a nice breather after such a punchy and relentless album. This is a dancier tune with a “Roll Over Beethoven” kind of melody and a catchy hook. Oh, and trumpets. Gotta have trumpets.
Two bonus tracks are featured as B-sides to the album including covers of Alex Carole And The Crush‘s “High School Shuffle” and The Dragtones‘ “Insane”. Though the latter is enjoyable and the former is an intriguingly structured track, neither is entirely necessary.
So that’s Lex Hives and, honestly, this is one of the most fun albums I’ve listened to over the past couple of years and it’s probably my favourite from the band. It’s The Hives back at their best and, should they keep this momentum going, they might actually deliver something so good it’s ground-breakingly good next time!
As it stands, I do love it and give it 4 Teary Punks out of 5.
Come on now, check it out.