The Hives

The Black & White Album

Written by: PP on 16/01/2008 17:30:19

By now everyone reading this site should be familiar with Swedish garage rockers The Hives, who have in short time risen to be one of Sweden\'s biggest rock exports as their enjoyably bouncy and danceable garage punk tunes dominate the airwaves. Their previous album \"Tyrannosaurus Hives\" brought us the hit singles \"Walk Idiot Walk\" and \"Two Timing Touch And Broken Bones\", while \"Veni Vidi Vicious\" shined with \"Hate To Say I Told You So\". You\'d have to live under a rock or on another planet if you were to persuade me you\'ve never heard any of these. On \"The Black And White Album\", named after their black & white suit stage appearance, the band continues to floor the gas pedal for the most part, while also adding a couple of unexpected elements on the record as well.

\"Tick Tick Boom\" opens the album in the quintessential The Hives way. It doesn\'t matter that the band is using simple three chord dual-guitar riffs all the way through or the same vocal dynamic as on all their previous albums, because what worked brilliantly 7 years ago still works brilliantly without contest. Like the band itself says on the superb \"Try It Again\": \"they say the definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result\", and in this case the result is pure garage rock godhood. The third song \"You Got It All... Wrong\" is a lighthearted garage punk song which should see entire clubs dancing along to the high-octane riffs and Almqvist\'s scratched vocals. Were I to judge the album based on just these three songs, we\'d be reaching the \'great\' rating very quickly.

Perhaps because they\'ve been doing the same thing for 7 years in a row now, the band felt like they were growing tired of the same simplistic garage rock formula that no one seems to be able to ape. In any case, after track three the album starts to stumble before it eventually falls flat on its face. \"Well Allright\" is an unfortunate attempt of bringing in some unwanted house/R&B influence with its weird riffs and the pseudo-gangshouts on the background. It just doesn\'t do anything for The Hives sound. But at least it isn\'t as bad as the absolutely terrible R&B song \"T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S\", which should have no place on a rock album, especially not on a punk rock album. \"Giddy Up\" is equally annoying, and wants me to take the disc and use it as a Frisbee outside, before ultimately burning it together with a bunch of 50 Cent records in a bonfire. It really is that bad. \"A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors\" is an interesting attempt of trying to bring some groovy lounge-music a la Fun Lovin\' Criminals into the mix, but for me it\'s just taking space away from awesome speedy tracks like \"Return The Favour\", which showcase the band\'s ability to write infectiously catchy hooks and combine them with memorable, singalongable choruses that somehow manage to not sound tacky or mainstream at all, despite The Hives being on a major label.

And in the end, those four or five shitty tracks are the pitfall of this album. While the rest of the album has you jumping around your room, the joyous mood is flushed down the toilet each time you accidentally hit one of those tracks. It would be easy to ignore just one or two tracks, but five out of 14 is asking a bit too much.

Essentially, listening to \"The Black & White Album\" is like having mood swings, in the white moments everything works great, but in the black moments, well, you just feel black.


Download: Tick Tick Boom, You Got It All... Wrong, Return The Favour
For the fans of: I Am Bones, The Strokes, The Vines, The White Stripes
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date 15.10.2007
Interscope Records

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