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The Hives are a garage rock band from Fagersta in Sweden. Forming in 1993, the band have so far written and released four studio albums, and a compilation of material in the form of their 2001 release 'Your new Favourite Band'. Characterised by the howling vocals of front man Peter Almqvist, since 2001 the band have become extremely popular and their most successful release to date has been the track 'Hate to Say I Told You So' which is currently their only single to have graced the US Billboard Hot 100. It had been three years since we last heard new material from The Hives having released their critically acclaimed 'Tyrannosaurus Hives' album back in 2004, however the band are now back with a bang and have released a brand new studio album in the form of 'The Black and White Album'.
'The Black and White Album' is a fantastic return from the band and once more Peter Almqvist howls his way through this one without ever stopping to draw breath. Whereas in the past, the tracks that The Hives have put on their albums has been the only material written this time around The Hives chose to take a different approach, coming up with a large number of tracks and then narrowing it down to those they deemed to be the best of the bunch. They have thus come up with fifteen tracks which together make up 'The Black and White Album', and I have to say that in doing so they have come up with their best album yet.
Kicking off with 'Tick Tick Boom', the sound here is extremely familiar and it is clear that the band are in no rush to change their style in the slightest. I for one am glad to hear it; I've been a massive fan of The Hives music since first hearing their 'Your new Favourite Band' album back in 2001, and it seems that as time goes by they are continually growing in strength and stature. Having said that the sound is very much what we've come accustom to hearing from The Hives, there are in fact some interesting little surprises encased in this album also. Eight track 'T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.' for instance was produced by Pharrell Williams and his influence is extremely apparent here. The track is fun and funky, with a large amount of slap bass protruding through. It works extremely well at the albums centre point, breaking the record up nicely with a welcomed change of pace.
Fans of the band will no doubt be massively impressed with what they hear in this latest album from The Hives; it has everything that you want and expect from a Hives record and more. Every single one of the fifteen tracks here are infectiously catchy and massively memorable. Tracks such as 'Fall Is Just Something Grown-Ups Invented' and 'You Got It All... Wrong' shine through massively so, speeding past in typical Hives style and leaving you with a huge smile across your face. At no point in this album do the band fail to impress and even on track 'Giddy Up!' which I wasn't massively keen on the sound of; the band redeem themselves with some amusing sexually charged lyrics.
With lyrics such as We rule the world, this is our world, it is at times hard to tell whether they've got tongue firmly in cheek, or whether they truly do think so much of themselves. I've never taken such lyrics seriously however, and for me it is all just fun and games on their behalf. The music is high octane fun, and the tracks are pulled off with a great deal of skill and are of strong profession. There is never a dull moment with The Hives and their music will always order your full undivided attention.
Having travelled the globe in order to record this album with a number of different producers such as Dennis Herring, Pharrell Williams, and Garret 'Jacknife' Lee; it is clear that The Hives have come up trumps here, and all contributing parties have thus contributed to the bands best album yet. I'm not so sure that the band possess a great enough deal of diversity to become 'Your New Favourite Band', however they are certainly good at what they do and pull off their brand of garage rock with an apparent ease. Having been around since 1993; I can see a few more years left in this band yet, and although it could quite fairly be argued that The Hives are merely one trick ponies, their one trick is certainly a good one. They have never been the most original of bands, however their music is catchy as hell and it is this that makes them stand out from the pack. 'The Black and White Album' is without a doubt the bands strongest release to date, and is one that I recommend all to give a listen to.
Release Date: 15th October 2007
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Tick Tick Boom
2 Try It Again
3 You Got It All... Wrong
4 Well All Right!
5 Hey Little World
6 A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors
7 Won't Be Long
9 Return The Favour
10 Giddy Up!
11 Square One Here I Come
12 You Dress Up For Armageddon
13 Puppet On A String
14 Bigger Hole To Fill
15 Fall Is Just Something Grownups Invented