You think rock & roll is dead? Think again. After 5 years of touring, doing compilations and collaborations and whatever else, The Hives are back with a brand new record and it's guaranteed to send chills down your spine like a screeching buzzsaw and blow your mind like a firework on the 4th of July. Lex Hives shows The Hives doing what they do best: feverish beats, chords and rhythms mixed with hints of old-school R&B, doo-wop and soul courtesy of the closest thing the generation of the millennium has to a lead singer like Iggy Pop, Howlin' Pelle Almquist.
The always well-dressed to impress quintet consisting of Almquist on vocals, Nicholaus Arson on guitar, Vigilante Carlstroem on another guitar, Dr. Matt Destruction on bass and Chris Dangerous hail from the small Swedish town of Fagersta. They rose to fame in the middle of a swarm of garage, rock, post-punk and new wave bands coming from all corners of the world in the early part of the past decade which has now been known as "The New Rock Revolution". If you're a fan of The Strokes, The Yea Yea Yeas and The White Stripes, then you know what I'm talking about. Under the guidance of their secretive manager Randy Fitzsimmons, who has been credited with writing all of their music, The Hives have put out five albums, performed all over the planet and rocked crowds into a frenzy everywhere they go.
Their new album is the first one the band has self-funded, self-produced and independently released due to not extending their contract with Interscope Records and starting their own Disques Hives label. There were 8 studios used to make the album ranging from the band's manor in Fagersta, Riksmixningsverket Studios in Stockholm, Hansa Studios in Berlin, Pink Duck Studios in Burbank, California and a bunch of others in between. It could be one of the most complex and expensive DIY (Do-It-Yourself) efforts in the history of music and it definitely pays off once you press play and listen.
In this dozen of face-melting tracks that Lex Hives possesses, its pretty hard to mention just a select few but I'm going to give it a shot. The album starts off with "Come On!", a one minute fury-fueled opus that sets the tone for the experience of engaging your ears into the fast-paced rhythmic barrage that you are bound to encounter. "Go Right Ahead" is the single off of Lex Hives, giving a very laissez-faire vibe about self-liberation and flat out doing what you want without having a care in the world about what other people think of it. "1000 Answers" is about responsibilities and answering the important questions where you hope that one of the many answers you have jumbling in your head is the right one. "I Want More" is loud as f**k with Arson's and Carlstroem's guitars dueling simultaneously along with Almquist singing about how he's never satisfied with what he has and that he always wants more in life, no matter what the risk.
"Patrolling Days" is a genuine punk track about authority's itchy trigger fingers and how they should stop despite thinking they're doing humanity a favor. "Take Back The Toys" definitely reminds me of every breakup I've had when I want the other person to take back what they've given me before I destroy it, not your typical sappy heartbreak song with Almquist's screeching vocals. "Without The Money" is a nod to the styles of Frank Sinatra and Frankie Valli that's all about how if you don't have any dough you won't have anywhere to go. "If I Had A Cent" is fast and emphatic, calling out the predictability of others when they do the same thing over and over again until the point when it gets maddeningly annoying. Ok there you go, I named a few but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy the record and see for yourself.
The Hives are in the middle of a tour of Europe and The United States where they'll be playing at Carroponte in Milan, Italy on June 13th and then they'll be taking a little break until they play a bunch of festivals over the summer followed by a big tour of Europe in the fall after they play The Vic Theatre in Chicago on June 30th. For us fans in the New England area, The Hives will be setting the stage a blaze at The House of Blues in Boston on June 23rd so definitely grab your tickets because they're going fast. Until then, get yourself a copy of Lex Hives and enjoy a pulsating record that'll make you go absolutely crazy, but in a extremely good way.
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