* Prices may differ from that shown
When I heard the song 'I hate to say I told you so' I was oh so hooked. I just had to buy this album. Pele is the epitomy of Ray Davies in the noughties, in terms of looks, attitude and most importantly sound! Pele must knowingly model himself on Ray Davies. The Hives indeed capture that raw 60s garage punk rock sound. At least they admit that much. Every song on this album sounds like it's been recycled from bits and pieces of mainly the Kinks and Blur. Throw in a few rifts of Garbage and the Dandys too. 'You really got me' by The Kinks is the basis for 'Main offender' and 'Hate to say', without a shadow of doubt. Blur's 'song 2' is the intro to 'I hate to say--' and 'Parklife' is the intro to 'Main offender'. The fourth song - 'Die alright' has the intro of 'Love, love,love love all your money' by a female Britpop band. Wow The Hives never mentioned Blur or The Kinks as their influences. Pele is a good looking guy, however I cannot help thinking he looks frustrated as he violently stomps when he performs. He must be on acid too or pretending to be, his eyes are extra large than usual...thing is, I find myself violently head banging too. Pele you make me want to go temporarily insane ;0 Despite the recycled riffs and unattributed influences, I love the Hives' music which has to be played at a ridiculously loud volume. Their matching image of black shirts, white ties and shoes is a classy bonus. They are well and truly my favourite new band, even that is a 60s esque catchphrase!
The Hives finally have broken through out of there native Sweden with this compilation album, Your New Favourite Band. Although the two singles to be taken from the album, Hate To Say I Told You So and Main Offender have failed to do particularly in the main sales chart, both have been played a lot throughout student radio. These first four tracks were taken from their 2000 album, Veni Vidi Viscious. 1. Hate So Say I Told You So is one of my favourite tracks off the whole album. Frantic drumming and a long bass riff brings the whole piece alive and the words fall in over the top. 2. Main Offender is the lastest single in the UK charts. Again, a solid bass line and drumming holds the whole track together. Howlin' Pelle Almqvist well howls the vocals out with such apparent ease! 3. Supply and Demand is based more around Chris Dangerous' drumming with the guitars of Vigilante Carlstroem and Nicholaus Arson coming more to the fore. 4. Die, All Right! brings back the familiar drums and bass pushing the track along at the fast and furious tempo associated with the Hives. Tracks 5 to 7 were on the 1998 single, a.k.a I-D-I-O-T. 5. Untutored Youth is very repetative and relies but I like is because of a hilarious monolgue from Almqvist. The shortest track of the album but I consider it the best. 6. Outsmarted sees somewhat smoother guitar playing but the franetic drum beat keeps the track moving on in the typical Hives tempo and style. 7. Mad Man is probably my least favourite track on the album but it is still good!! It starts off slowly and quiet but soon builds up to Almqvist's vocals coming in and that is the story of the whole track. Tracks 8 to 11 were taken from the 1997 album, Barely Legal, recorded in Stockholm. 8. The guitar riff of an intro makes this song. It is not typical of the other tracks taken off Barely Legal in relying on t
he bass to push it along. 9. a.k.a I-D-I-O-T is what I think is the best track of the album if just for the funny lyrics! Again the guitars come to the fore in this track with some slick riffs. 10. Automatic Schmuk feels out of time but it is very well held together by Almqvist's vocals. More guitar riffs that are very common towards the tail end of the album. 11. Hail Hail Spit N'Drool again(!) starts with a guitar and drum riff before the vocals come in. In my opinion, it is one of the more repetative tracks of the album. 12. Finally, The Hives Are Law, You Are Crime is a instrumental recorded by Pelle G in 2000 and was put onto the Hate To Say I Told You So Single. Overall, the album might seem repetative to some people but there are subtle variations in the style of each track. If you play the CD from track 11 to track 1, you will hear how the Hives have progressed over the past five years. The album also contains the videos for Main Offender, Hate To Say I Told You So, a.k.a I-D-I-O-T and Die, All Right! which means the audio bit of the CD is only 30 minutes long so not entirely perfect! Finally, they ARE my new favourite band!!
It was a Friday evening a few months ago, about 20 past 4, when I first heard the Hives. I was in the gym, and Chris Moyles was on Radio 1. I was bench-pressing, not the best position to be in if you're going to be surprised. There I was, my own body weight suspended above me, ready for some even more talentless RnB/Dance music to be played. Suddenly, this incredibly catchy guitar line started playing. I quickly put the weights down before I did anything silly. Bloody good job I did. That track was the astounding Hate To Say I Told You So. Some quick research when I got home gave me the name the Hives, and so on Saturday I was in HMV having a look for their stuff. Co-incidentally (?), there was a great big display with loads of these red CD cases, proclaiming perhaps rather rashly, that the Hives were 'your new favourite band'. Well, I stuck the CD in my stereo, and to be honest, the whole thing was a bit of an anti-climax. They sounded a little to cliched for me, although I was mildly surprised to discover that the band were in fact from Sweden, rather than from the US, which did make me look a little more favourably towards them. Anyway, I put the CD away, and went out and bought the new Strokes album, since it seemed that every time the Hives were mentioned, so were the Strokes. Then I decided to listen again to the Hives. Suddenly, I realised that they had grown on me. I realised that I liked this band a hell of a lot. Suddenly I got it. The Hives were the only group actually doing anything interesting with a guitar band for the first time in about 7 years, and then I realised, they're a stunning band, and they deserve your interest. So, what made me decide this? How about a track by track explanation? 1 - Hate To Say I Told You So - astonishingly catchy, amazing guitar work, full of bounce. 2 - Main Offender - the reason I switched off last time. A little tuneless,
but still some good guitar work, but some good rock nevertheless. 3 - amazing intro, thumping drums, lyrics don't make a whole lot of sense, verses are good, chorus is a little dismal. 4 - Die, All Right! - Wow. Love the drums, catchy guitar, nice lairy feel, good n' fast. 5 - Untutored Youth - possibly a 'dud' track in the same sense as Digsy's Dinner was a 'dud' by Oasis, ie. it's more of an afterthought than a song in its own right. Very, very fast, full of teen-angst rebellion. 6 - Outsmarted - slightly heavier than the rest, but still fast, love the drum beat intro. 7 - Mad Man - don't really like this, a bit too heavy for me, but some very talented guitar playing, crashing cymbals and good pace. 8 - Here We Go Again - getting back on track with this one, good, bleak sounding rock, solid stuff. 9 - a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T - Again, wow. jaw-droppingly fast, great punky track, fantastic chorus, full of controlled rage and energy 10 - Automatic Schmuck - again, loads of energy, haunting guitar background, very pacey, although with an odd aftertaste, doesn't quite feel right. 11 - Hail Hail Spit n' Drool - a nice mix of modern punk with proper rock, a real shout-it-out chorus, although there are some duff moments, and its all over too quickly. 12- The Hives are law, You are Crime - an instrumental track, chill-out for rock fans? Overall, this is a smart collection of tracks, full of energy and blistering pace, although I think that the album really suffers as a result of the lyrics. It's quite clear that English is the second language of the singer, and possibly the writer too, since the lyrics make little sense, and there's some very odd pronounciations in parts. However, the music still holds together, and what we have here is a good 'punk' album in the pre-Skate punk sense, ie. properly done, not happy-clappy or
promising suburban middle class teens some kind of pathetic rebellion. The Hives are too mature for that, and have made a good, solid rock album....or should that be albums? A quick look inside proves that this is indeed a compilation album, something I suspected from the motorway service station packaging. The Hives were drafted in to save Alan McGee's new record label, Poptones, and this album is basically a 12 track advert for the label. Still, it's a good album, and so I'll certainly be out to buy the two 'proper' albums, Veni Vid Vicious, and Barely Legal. The Hives - your new favourite band? Could be...
You can’t avoid the Hives at the moment. I know that sounds a bit like a health warning but it’s not! The Hives are a Swedish-5 piece rock and roll band, who are smartly dressed, usually in white suits with black ties, and clean white shoes. And, like the Strokes and the White Stripes, they are being alternately lauded as the next best thing in low-fi garage rock, or dismissed as a gimmicky publicity stunt. As far as the music goes, the Hives are in the former category for me. I’d heard a couple of tracks of theirs, and immediately knew I wanted to buy their album. Then I saw “Your new favourite band” on offer at Virgin, about 2 months ago, and it cost me only £6.00. They had lots of them in the racks, too – either there IS some kind of hype is gong on, or maybe record label Poptones is going in for some kind of loss-leader gimmick. Either way, it could just work. “Your new favourite band” is actually a compilation of tracks from the Hives’ seven year career, so there are another two albums available, and guess what, I’ll be buying them pretty soon too. The band has been together since 1993, so they’re certainly not some manufactured cash in band. Leader is Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, and the other members are Nicholaus Arson, (Pelle’s brother) Vigilante Carlstoem, Chris Dangerous and Dr. Matt Destruction – the names (very punk rock) themselves should make you sit up and pay attention, but if not, the music will! This album took my breath away. It sounds very fresh, it sounds very loud, and it’s very short. Think of the bands starting with S – Sex Pistols, Stranglers, and Suicide and the Sonics – these last two are bands that the Hives have mentioned as inspirations. I’m most frequently reminded of the Sonics, myself – it’s that raw 60s garage punk that comes over most forcefully. “Die Alrigh
t” and “Main Offender” are the best examples of this kind of sound 60’s garage sound, where the band concentrates on great simple riffs, played loudly That screamed “Why me?” (Main Offender”) is straight out of a Nuggets (60s US garage rock again) band. “Main Offender”, more than most, has the kind of sound you might get if the mike and the recording equipment was very cheap, and the volume levels are allowed to go way into the red all the time. But the whole album sounds as though the mike was left with the recording level way way too loud. But the thing is, it sounds great. Not cheap, tinny and nasty, but real and b-a-a-d… “a.k.a I-D-I-O-T” has a more contemporary punk sound to it – when I say contemporary I mean more 70's than 60's. The song is a bit like the Sex Pistols, but with a bit more musical ability and polish. Oh, and the attitude’s more self-effacing – I can’t imagine Johnny Rotten singing a lyric like “a.k.a I-D-I-O-T – that’s me.” “Untutored youth” is super-energetic (which for the Hives is saying a lot), like Stiff Little Fingers, and it has an extremely live feel to it. The vocal-only break is my favourite moment on this track – it reminds me of some of those early Stranglers records. I noticed that the drums on “Outsmarted” are very like those on the Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz, so there’s even (possibly) a little glam rock in there too. Their musical influences are indeed very impressive – the April issue of Kerrang includes a free CD which is entirely chosen by the Hives. Well worth £1.80 of anyone’s cash. I’d love to have given “Your new favourite band” 5 stars, but I’m afraid the fact that it’s a short compilation of previously available material (albeit a cheap one) means it’s got
to be 4 stars only, chaps. It may be the suits that have got the Hives noticed, but it’s the music that’s got me coming back for more.
I first heard about The Hives from watching the Agent Provocateur advert which features Kylie (incidentally, well worth a download ;o) ). After a little investigation, I found that the overdubbed track was the rhythmic Main Offender, a simple yet addictive track. Having got hold of the album, “Your New Favourite Band”, I found that Main Offender was a typical Hives track, encompassing their exuberant sound. They’re a sort of 80s punk and indie crossover, which I suppose isn’t the most original formula out there, but they carry it off with some style. One thing to note is that the tracks are all 2-3 minute blasts of energy, which I suppose you would expect from the punk influence, and The Hives’ individual style itself. The whole album lasts approximately 28 minutes, so I wouldn’t bank on this album for a full afternoon of entertainment! Anyway, the music. Track 12, “The Hives are law, you are Crime” is an instrumental piece which reminds me a little of something the Blues Brothers might of put out, with it’s rhythmic bass line and short blasts of guitar. “AKA I-D-I-O-T” goes back to the snare drum belting punk formula that is The Hives. Other tracks such as “Supply & Demand” and “Die All Right” stand out superbly. To summarise, “Your New Favourite Band” is a fast and loud retro blast, heavily influenced by the “The Stooges”. It’s isn’t a massively diverse album, but that’s the style of The Hives. If you like punk and rock music, I’d buy it.
If you were asked to name two Swedish bands who released greatest hits albums, you'd probably struggle after the obvious first choice. But now, it seems, the answer has presented itself with a release from, bizarrely enough, the Hives. If you think the idea of a greatest hits CD after just 3 years and 2 full-lengthers is a bit odd, then you're probably not alone. Released exclusively in the UK by label Poptones, it features all the "best bits" from the bands previous "Barely Legal", "Veni Vidi Vicious" and "a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T" Burning Heart releases, squeezing 12 tracks into barely over 28 minutes of music. The first four tracks are featured on the latest Hives' release "Veni Vidi Vicious", and provide arguably the strongest part of the CD. Things kick off (as so often they do) in superb fashion with the great riff that introduces "Hate To Say I Told You So". Due for re-release as a single in early Feb 2002, its a perfect example of a great Hives' tune, and provides a expectation of great things to come. You barely notice the end of the track when "Main Offender" begins and instantly sounds very similar to the previous tune. The riff is different, as is the structure, but it just feels like an extension of the previous tune. That said, it's still a decent offering, and one of the stand out tracks on the album, showing the Hives are capable of writing good sing-a-long tracks. "Supply and Demand" slows it down with a lazier, relaxed sound. It's not bad, it's just compared to the previous two tracks, it's kinda boring. The chorus consists of simply repeating the title over and over (and over) again. You'd think the lyrics had taken a back seat to improve the other aspects of the song, but no, it's all pretty average. "Die, All Right!", on the other hand, is a totally different kettle of fish. Featured on previous Burning He
art compilations, it's a great example of what the Hives can achieve when they put their heads together. Anyone who isn't singing along (after deciphering the cryptic "selling body parts" lyrics) should probably seek help. It's the Hives at their very best, if they can keep churning out stuff of this quality, super-stardom surely beckons. Tracks 5 to 7 are taken from the "a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T" EP, and its from here on in things take a slight, but for the most part unfaltering, decline. At a shade over a minute and a half, "Untutored Youth" is a token speedy number which degenerates into an inane rant about halfway through before finding its feet again. Definitely one to skip. "Outsmarted" is only slightly better, saved from its so-so guitar work and tedious chorus by marginally more interesting verse vocals. "Mad Man" concludes probably the worst section of the disc, and is as bland as the previous offering. It's a good job, then, that the next two tracks, taken from the debut full-lengther "Barely Legal", are next. "Here We Go Again" combines an upbeat riff and finely layered guitars to produce a track that is altogether more fitting on a greatest hits album. The same goes for the unpronoucable (especially after a couple of drinks) "a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T". Quite how so many syllables have been crammed into one chorus line still mystifies me - singing along with this one really tests the limits of tongue articulation. It's around this point in the CD that you start to think maybe things are on the up, and you're right... until the first drum beats of "Automatic Schmuck" signal the start of another Hives' nosedive. The track, along with "Hail Hail Spit n'Drool" could be written and performed by any other two-bit band on the planet, there's nothing special on either, and again, you find yourself skipping them after an initial listen.
Last, and almost certainly least, is the criminally (get it?) bad instrumental "The Hives Are Law, You Are Crime". Two and a half minutes of crap guitars and tedious drumming do not a fitting finale make. So is it worth listening to? Yes. And no. When the Hives' are good, they're excellent. When they're bad, they're average. You'll find yourself skipping a lot of these tracks simply to get to the 4 or 5 ones worth listening to. Is it a good buy? Yes. And no. It's not worth it for any previous Hives fan, 'cos there's absolutely nothing new to justify the expense. Unless you want to say you've got all their releases. Which some sad people are bound to do. For those ignorant of the Hives, you'll find some truely good songs spaced out with some pretty crappy average-ness.
I have to confess that on first listen I was bitterly disappointed by "your new favourite band", like many I'd bought it purely on the strength of album opener and superb single "hate to say I told you so". Unless you've been living in a cave you can not have missed this snappy, short, loud blast of fun. However after several plays and living with the CD for a number of weeks I can official announce that it's has become quite a favourite of mine and genuinely befitting it's title. The CD itself isn't really an album in the true sense as basically it's amalgamation of previous releases by The Hives. The first four tracks are taken from the album "veni vidi vicious". Three others are from the single " a.k.a I-D-I-O-T", while another four are from the 1997 album "barely legal". This compilation is completed by a track from the CD single "hate to say I told you so" which is a catchy instrumental called "The Hives are law, you are the crime". For those unfamiliar with The Hives they make short punk rock noises similar in style to bands like "Rocket From The Crypt". In fact if some of the tracks were to have a horn section added to them they could quite happily fit on any RFTC record. This is particularly true of great tracks like "main offender" and "supply and demand". Many critics have compared them to the likes of Iggy Pop and the Stooges but while The Hives are nothing new you can't deny they're damn fun to listen to. This is just raw rock n roll at it's best and the perfect antidote to many so called US punk acts like Blink 182 etc. We're talking about cool Swedes in suits here, who are getting an considerable amount of good press especially regarding their energetic live gigs. I won't bother you with an in depth track by track account of this CD as most of the comments I have about the s
ongs all apply to each other anyway. Don't expect a lot of different styles and variation here as The Hives have a good formula and they stick to it well. "untutored youth" reminds me slightly of the Irish punk outfit Stiff Little Fingers until the music stops and lead singer Pelle Almqvist shouts "if I really wanted to learn something I'd listen to more records than I do, we do, you do.... so c'mon". It loses something when written down but it makes perfect sense when you're listening to it. Other tracks that hit the spot are "here we go again" which features some frenetic piano playing which defies your feet to keep still. Another gem is "a.k.a I-D-I-O-T" which again reminds me of some classic UK punk tracks. Ok the album isn't perfect and it does contain a couple of fillers but then again how many albums don't. The only real shame is that despite having 12 tracks the CD only has a running time of just over 28 minutes but then again this means that none of the tracks on offer hang around long enough to outstay their welcome. This CD demands to be played loud and I hope it gives you as much enjoyment as it has me. A very fine record and truly worthy of the 4 stars I have given it. Buy it, play it, play it again and enjoy it.
The music scene just hasn’t been the same since five big haired, permanently hammered new Yorkers obsessed with retro music and sex appeared on the scene. The path has been opened for bands like BRMC and this lot of daft punks- the Hives. They’ve been around a while, the Strokes were probably still experimenting with Alcopops when this lot arrived on the scene, but they have instantly become cooler, despite not being all that like the Strokes. OK, so they sound as retro, they dress as stupidly and they have the same raw energy. But their lyrics make the Strokes sound like classical philosophers, and THAT is saying something! Having said that there are a few points of comparison with them. This is one confident album, it's essentially a greatest hits, which is odd for a band who were relatively unheard of up until 2001. Then add a track called “The Hives are law, you are crime” and name said album “Your favourite new band” and you have one cocky album. Down to the music itself. The lyrics are quite simply, typical brainless pop-punk fun with little relevant meaning and more about being rebellious (“Outsmarted” and “Untutored Youth” being the perfect examples” than deep ‘n’ meaningful. The music has the retro seventies sound that is so cool at the moment, but it is a bit heavier than the Strokes- more punk, less indie. It is also fuelled with the same oomph that the Strokes have. The guitar tunes are usually fairly simple and the type that paste themselves into your brain and you have to have a lobotomy to remove them! All in all this album is a short, powerful assault on the ears, and if you like your music loud, full of itself and lots and lots of fun, then you’ll be pogoing about your room to this before you can say “air guitar”. The songs themselves are (mostly) very short and tight (despite the mentalist attitude of the band). None of the son
gs is over three and a half minutes. Here’s a little track listing… 1.Hate to say I told you so- a pretty damn fine opening song here. The longest song on the album at 3.23 minutes, the song is tight and well put together with a simple, catchy guitar track. The singer does sound a little like his voice is breaking though! I hope its deliberate! 2. Main Offender- wailing, screechy opening guitars perfectly mirror the singer’s seventies-punk voice. I wouldn’t recommend you listen to it on a Walkman though, unless you like your ears ringing for about a half hour! 3. Supply and Demand- Senseless lyrics and simple (and tuneless) guitar work. Textbook punk with some very infectious, energetic drumming. 4. Die, all right- great drum rolling and snarling, spitting vocals, and a screamed out chorus make this song the most sing-along on the album. 5. Untutored youth- the teen rebel song of the album. Completely tuneless guitar and daft drumming, with extremely amusing lyrics such as “I extend my middle right hand digits and say ‘hey would you like lemon and lime with that piece of advice mister?’” a bit of a mosh pit track. 6. Outsmarted- Steam train drumming and a brilliant guitar tune makes this tune another mosh pit potential, and also pretty damn exciting. Its light on the old lyrics, consisting mostly of “OUTSMARTED” yelled over and over, and the rest of the scarce lyrics are incomprehensible. 7. Mad man- this is more or less “outsmarted” all over again, only not quite so exciting. The tune is very similar, only this time the yelled out word is “madman” Its opens very well though, with a nice crescendo leading to a tinny, catching guitar, and tension-building ‘quiet’ bits scattered throughout. 8. Here we go again- Chunky guitar chords that you could probably bite right into, a little plonky piano thrown in for good measure and a retur
n to shouty lyrics, and a potential festival chorus of “here we go again!” with the guitars silent at this point and fitting in after the chorus line perfectly. Another top track! 9. AKA I-d-i-o-t- Opens with a sweet drum roll and call-and-answer guitars and then descends into the usual senseless, crazy spitting-mad lyrics. It does reduce the impact a little, but this band aint known for their intelligence, their “Don’t give a damn” attitude is summed up perfectly in this one. 10. Automatic Schmuck- This one is verging on metal actually, sounding a bit like all the crappy nu-school punk and metal bands rolled into one, only with an actual tune (albeit not a very good!). The speed of the singing doesn’t fit in very well with the backing track, and altogether this one isn’t very well put together, it’s a bit clunky and clumsy. 11. Hail hail spit and drool- fantastic title, suitably great song. The shortest on the album, its just one great big noise. I don’t really get the lyrics (half the time you cant make them out) but there’s nothing new there, just listen to the great guitar playing, drumming and the singers crazed vocals. 12. The hives are law, you are crime- the perfect ending to a pretty good album. This is an instrumental track, and it proves that the Hives can write strong music. The guitar playing is another which sneaks into your brain, and the drumming is strong, loud and pretty flawless throughout. Despite the repetitive nature of the track, if you don’t love this one then you’ll hate the rest. Sorry if the comments are pretty repetitive, but the album itself is very much so. Its like the Strokes in that you feel like you’re listening to the same song over again at certain points in the album, but you’re favourite song on this will keep changing, which shows all in all, it’s a pretty good album! Its nothing new, it mixes in the influences of
what must be near hundreds of different bands, but in doing so creates a great vibe. Its all crazy lyrics, even more crazed drumming and incredibly cocky guitar playing, and plenty of fun!
The Hives, The Hives! Surely quite a number of you must've heard about The Hives by now? They are one more band that the popular music press have adopted as their darlings and smothered them beyond any healthy motherly love. Atleast fortunately, though the hype is hyperbolic (as is the case with many acts) to the actual goodness of the band, the band are still actually rather good. Sure, they smack of retro, and what they're doing has been done many times before. But their retro is so absurdly extreme that in runs into self-parody, so they recognise they're nothing very new. But then at the same time the evergreen charms of catchy abrasive punk pop ensure that they're still enthralling in a time when quite a portion of contemporary is rather poor. They may not be the saviour of rock 'n' roll; a fact - but they are damn good fun and it's without tension that I welcome them to the charts at the birth of their success from the cradle of the many. And fortunately there are no pongs of Orange Countyisms. Sweden's The Hives (I dunno who plays what) are Vigilante Carlstroem, Nicholaus Arson, Doctor Matt Destruction, Howlin' Pelle Almqvist and Chris Dangerous - an oddly monickered bunch, and unless one of them is called Randy Fitzsimmons themself, it appears all songs are written by said party, who also is the webmaster of their official website. Mysterious. *Pre-post update, NME.com reports that Nicholaus Arson 'is' Randy Fitzsimmons - which is a registered pseudonym. The Hives aren't a very new band, infact their current single (catchy opener 'Hate To Say I Told You So') is from an album released in 2000, and before that their debut album came out in 1997. So it's only now that their darts are finding targets, and it's Alan McGee's Poptones label which has produced a compilation of some of their work from the Burning Heart Records label to quickly get people acquainted
with The Hives, and this is the cheekily titled 'Your New Favourite Band', and they are mine for the time being! The artwork for this release is also typically retro - somewhere between the late 60's and 70's, which also visualises, almost, the timeframe of their sound. At only around a tenner, the CD won't break the bank, and then you're actually glad the price isn't that much higher as the length of the album barely reaches half an hour, and despite nearly all of the tracks having a unique charm they sometimes blur into mild short sameyness. On the plus side atleast the two-page inlay booklet contains the (brilliant!) lyrics to all the songs. Also on the CD are mpeg videos to four of the songs, but there's no interface that loads when you pop the CD into your computer (which I personally welcome, as they slow my computer down) and the videos are a bit grainy compared to the quality of most mpegs on CD's, and to fully see the videos in sync with the audio you'll need to view them in full screen. Needless to say you'll need an mpeg player, and you'll probably have one - there are none on the CD, just the videos and one credits text file. These videos are quite fun to see, comically retro. 'Hate To Say I Told You' kicks off the album in a Rolling Stoned swagger with strutting rhythms and a Jaggeresque vocal. This track is also available as a single and features frequent use of "I wanna"'s, and "I'm gonna"'s. One of the catchiest rock tracks of the year, so far. An mpeg video of this song is on the CD. 'Main Offender' follows with more heavy and raw 60's blues with big drums and intermittent wails from the guitars. An mpeg video of this song is also on the CD. 'Supply And Demand' enters with a tom-intensive beat, simplistic punk rhythm guitar stabs layered by anti-capitalist sentiment ranting. 'Die, All R
ight!' goes a bit surfer punk rock and carries on the theme of businessmen gone mad - apt to the sharp attire of the band aswell. An mpeg video of this song is also on the CD. 'Untutored Youth' has quite amusing words that sum up the youth of any year - we don't care! - and is a quick exercise in Misfits style punk, a few notches slower. 'Outsmarted' gives us Misfits style ghoulish punk rock at the right speed and mood, with lyrics that fit the title as much as a definition in punk terms can. 'Mad Man' sounds a bit similar to the previous song once the distorted bass clears the building rumble. This is evident in the chorus; "Out-smar-ted!" simply becomes "Maaaaaaaaaad-mad...maaaaan!", it's still fun though. 'Here We Go Again' enters with a simple ballsy 4/4 beat with feedbacked guitars revolving rhythm around the drums completed by an attitudey rant and a bit of piano in the chorus. Imagine the Manics' 'Found That Soul' meets modern Metallica, and that should be a close enough example to what this is. 'A.K.A I-D-I-O-T' is another brash punk track with inferiority complexed lyricism - in a positve way, as in individuality. "I know I'm a screw up, I know I'm in a band. I know I'm up against a mighty mighty man". Somehow, that makes sense to me *brushes tear*...An mpeg video of this song is on the CD too. 'Automatic Shmuck' bares resemblance mostly to metal in parts, in terms of the verse rhythms, and then speeds off into another ranty punk chorus. It's racy and agressive: "I'll explode, I'll erode yeah, I'll break you f**king code - cause I'm an automatic shmuck with a tendency to rock". There's many top lines throughout the whole album, delivered in a magnificently fast and expressive way. 'Hail Hail Spit N' Drool' features more classic 70
9;s simple chordy punk riffage with a title probably taken from a lost Kiss notebook; no doubt that's why an element of glam makes it's presence known here also. 'The Hives Are Law, You Are Crime' is the ending instrumental featuring House-like drum machine clap sounds, comic guitar note picking and steady 4/4 drum and bass that descends into authorative like joy at the chorus. Occasionally futuristic synth sounds wind in. ...And that's the end of the album. The average length of the songs are about 2 and a half minutes, and some are bit longer, and some shorter. A quick half hour bash in almost-no-brainer fun. This is a very enjoyable album indeed, but at the same time partly disposable. The hype around the band will soon be passed on to the next unsuitable heirs and whether The Hives will go on to become greater is now their own doing. I hope they become greater as they're extremely likeable with much potential. If you're going to buy a Hives album, I recommend this stop-gap. But after this, I can't say I have the thirst to go and rescue their small back catalogue from record shop shelves, but I will look out for them and what they do next from now on. Atleast for now, The Hives have given me a quick fix of good old style energetic rock, and I can't say fairer than that - even if I do have to keep the CD on repeat to make it seem longer, and rely on mpeg videos making this worth the tenner I parted with. Done, but highly fun, and with the way they're going they are atleast accessibly welcome in the evermore stained charts and an alternative guitar scene which is oblivious to the riotous comedy that The Hives understand. Oh, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are a yawn! Make The Hives *your* new favourite band!
Scuffing him around the neck you laugh at your youngest brother, “talk sense, clown.” Why? Well. . . he’s just told you that he is in a band. What’s more he’s the lead vocalist. “Vocalist??” since when did he start using words like that. It’s not that long ago he was line-dancing to Cotton Eye Joe. Then he informs you that it’s a nu wave punk ensemble not a band. Oh dear perhaps he isn’t lying. Months go by with day upon day of increasingly venomous sarcasm. Then just as you are about to launch into another merciless lampoon he hands you his latest CD. What the. . . Somehow without you knowing it your little brother has gotten himself a recording contract and is now bringing out a CD. When did this happen and who cleared it? Luckily the CD is packaged in a shoddy box by a dodgy sounding outfit called poptones. “It’s cardboard, not plastic,” you hoot at his face. “And that name “The Hives,” what’s all that about?” It makes your skin crawl. But then you see the title “your new favourite band” and you appreciate the irony. “Marketing men surely,” you declare, not this half-wit sibling of yours. Inside the lyrics seem to confirm that this substandard end-of-line version of yourself has actually had a hand in the writing process “do what I want cause I can and if I don’t – because I wanna be ignored by the stiff and the bored – because I’m gonna” “Been at the butane again?” you ask him. “Howay then, stick it on muppet.” How you wish you hadn’t. Not because its pap but worse than that you actually like the thing. Song one “hate to say I told you so” kicks off with a quietly distorted strum that becomes overlaid with a drum that starts off as the Who and then rolls into song 2 by Blur. There is then a momentar
y repose and then half-wit kicks in roaring out his lyrics. Somehow what read as unstructured inanities, now takes on a new light. Whilst it is still meaningless pap the words and their pace make the song what it is; a thumping rattler, total nonsense but forced out at brow raising pace. Hard fast twangy tat, the perfect punk record. Song two “main offender” is in the same vein but even better because its shorter 2m33s vs. 3m23s. In this one your kid starts letting rip with some vocal shenanigans over a tune that puts you in mind of some of ya fatha’s albums from the 60’s when he had hair and plenty of it. Then you begin to wonder whether, when you were wearing retro tracksuit tops and listening to rehashed classics by Blur and Oasis, was he actually listening to the real thing? “Supply and demand” doesn’t take the theme any further and despite only being 2m26s you want it to end because it doesn’t do anything. Aha you say, two trick ponies. “die, all right!” changes your mind because it’s a corker. Everything about it is great, it’s the perfect length at 2m46s and it never lets up on a thumping rhythm that has the graphic equaliser bars pogoing. The only thing that seems odd is that it appears to be about work; a world that you know for a fact your kid has never inhabited or even visited. A bunch of kids screaming rubbish for a minute and a half is the next effort. Appropriately entitled “untutored youth” it is notable primarily for this insanely long line hollered in a gap in music “and when people tell me what is ok and what is not, it should not be an unexpected scene seeing I extend my middle right hand digit and say.- would you like lemon or lime with that piece of advice mister?” With the next song your brother’s face splits into a turd dining grin. You can tell this song is a big two fingers up to you specificall
y. It’s about how you thought you were clever and intellectual but now he's the top dog. He literally tells you he’s “the one who put shit back in place and threw it back in your face.” Oh dear you wonder, is this the come-uppance you’ve had coming for a long time? It is and you spend 2m20s pondering why it was you wasted your adolescence pondering exactly what made a verse frightening and quite why a mancunian with a quiff would be sending them to buck-toothed girls in Luxembourg. You realise that you should have been having fun and thrashing around with instruments you couldn’t play. The next three songs “mad man” “here we go again” and “aka I-D-I-O-T” reaffirm this. They are all high tempo clangalongicas with screamed words that neither make sense nor claim to. They all remind you of groups you’ve heard in the past but they remind you of too many to name them. Honestly to try and pin yourself down to one definite influence is difficult indeed impossible, they seem to have taken referencing to a new level with hundreds of musical snippets pasted together from the last thirty years. Be it the heavy metal comedy guitar entry to “aka I-D-I-O-T” or the rumbling bass of “mad man” that turns into a tribal drumbeat reminiscent of Adam and the ants the thing is too varied and short to get a clear picture. It’s literally just as you recognise a sound that it changes form altogether. “Trouble is ponceoid,” you tell him “is that its all a bit samey and there’s no real theme.” You concede bitterly that, hands up give him his dues, songs 1, 2 and 4 are quality, but the rest are okayish at best. “Well you’d be better off buying our EP Veni Vidi Vicious which has songs 1 – 4 off this album.” He gloats. It transpires that this album is a mish-mash of previous singles cobbled toget
her here for the purpose of greater glory. “Curses who could have believed the imbecile would make something of himself.” Worse is to come. Not only have they made videos for the songs four of them are present in MPEG format on this very album. His smugness as he plays them on your computer knows no bounds. There before your very eyes your daffodil screen saver makes way for the grinning buffoon himself and unfortunately he looks okay. The video for aka I-D-I-OT is not really up to much but the others are okay. In the main offender video we have a black and white animated affair that looks continental cool as if Air might have been involved. In die all right your brother looks as if he has been cast as a member of the animals set in a hammer house of horrors film. But more alarmingly it’s the video for hate to say that really showcases him. Here the band is clad in trendy black-shirt, white-tie clobber and they are basically standing there thrashing it out. All his mates are there, the ones that could barely talk when they came round, now on the monitor in front of you are Vigilante Carlstraem, Nicholaus Arson, Dr Matt Destruction, Howlin' Pete Almqvist and Chris Dangerous. He, the runt of the litter, has the same gurning expression that you’ve found irritating for years but now the camera gives it a new angle. What you see is the usual fool flailing around like he’s trying to encourage doctors to administer unnecessary electroconvulsive therapy in his direction. What young ladies will see is a quirky chap who dresses well and has a bit of character. Yum yum they will think I’ll have a bit of that. Lord on high this is the single worst day of your life. As the weeks fly by and you listen to the album on shuffle function it seems to grow even more. The last three songs that you never got a chance to hear earlier seem better when they crop up out of sync. “automatic schmuck
221; with its distorted sound grows and grows. The brilliantly short “hail hail spit and drool” slips in anywhere and is a whistle stop tour of frenzy. Ultimately the ludicrously titled “the hives are law, you are crime,” hails into view and is one of those instrumentals that sounds like a good introduction to a great song that never arrives. But overall the thing that strikes you when you hear this album is that things could have been so different. All of this could have been you. If only you had been born five years later, perhaps then you would have got the true Britpop message that talent isn’t everything and plagiarism goes, rather than the message that cosy is good and stadium cosy is better. If only you hadn’t thought that maudlin was happiness and poetry was real, damn S. Morrissey and O. Wilde. Why couldn’t you see what your brother had seen; that basically life is for living and there’s only one way to do it, short and sharp whilst punching a guitar.
The Hives are a five-piece from Sweden who rock. Pure and simple. Although, in effect, the band was manufactured a few years back in much the same way that bands like Five and Steps were manufactured, their style of music is a world apart from the cheesy pop that is normally associated with such bands. So what is their style of music, I hear you ask? Well, their music has a similar rawness and edginess that bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes display in their music. They also have a similar crappy name like The Strokes and The White Stripes. Granted, they're not the band with the worst name to come out of Sweden; that accolade has to go to The Cardigans (I mean, why?) . But The Hives remains a poor name. At this point, you may be thinking, "Oh God, not another retro, garage punk bunch of losers with stupid dress sense and poor hairstyles." That was my initial impression, but for some reason the Hives have grown on me. The Hives' attitude is much more tongue-in-cheek than their American counterparts – with track names like 'Die, All Right', 'Automatic Schmuck' and 'The Hives Are Law, You Are Crime', you can hardly take them seriously, and nor are you supposed to. More of a cult than the band, The Hives refuse to wear anything other than the same black shirts, black trousers, and white ties that have become their defining uniform. Even their pseudonyms have an air of comical arrogance: Howlin' Pelle Almqvist leads the band, while Dr Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous, Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem do their thang in the background. 'Your New Favourite Band' is not actually an album of new material, instead it collects together the best moments of their previous few releases, including their two albums 'Veni Vedi Vicious' and 'Barely Legal', and also EP 'a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T'. However, the fact that the style of the music determinedly refuses t
o change throughout the CD allows the album to flow better, and sound less like the greatest hits compilation which, effectively, it is. Lyrically, the general theme is one of rebellion. Rebelling against what? What have you got? 'Do what I please, gonna spread the disease, because I wanna,' howls Pelle on opening track, 'Hate To Say I Told You So', which looks set to become The Hives' first proper hit. And rightly so - with a brilliant guitar riff that breaks down halfway through the song before building up again for a spectacular finale, this has the trademarks of a classic in the making. But with such an excellent opening track, it's only inevitable that the rest of the album isn't quite as good. While the same up yours type of attitude remains, the remaining tracks don't quite match the charm of the 'Hate To Say...'. 'Untutored Youth' is a prime example of this. At just one and a half minutes long, the songs sees Pelle shouting about how authority can't tell him what to do, and while the song rushes along at a speed that would put Blink 182 to shame, little evidence of the band's musical talent is shown during the track, and Pelle's voice is at its most irritating here, especially when . There simply doesn't appear to be much of a point to much of the song, and the same can be said of a few of the songs on 'Your New Favourite Band'. 'Supply and Demand' contains little of the emotion shown in much of the rest of the album, and the fact that it was released as a single surprises me. 'Here We Go Again' is simply not a very interesting track, with less than inspired lyrics. The song screams filler at you. However, for every 'Here We Go Again', there is an 'Outsmarted' or an 'Automatic Schmuck' to tell you everything's all right, the latter off which contains a guitar riff that is almost identical to the hook in Deftones track '
;Feiticeira', found on supposedly innovative album 'White Pony'. But the Hives did it first, not the Deftones. 'Outsmarted' is an energetic punk thrash which entertaining lyrics, once again showing their arrogant attitude - 'Now I'm the kid who put the shit back in place... Now you're the kid who put the L back in lame'. While not quite as anthemic as 'Hate To Say...' it is still a very enjoyable track. From listening to 'Your Favourite Band', you do get the feeling that the Hives are a bit of a one trick pony. After a few listens to the album, you do begin to notice slight differences musically in the tracks taken from the three releases. The tracks taken from the Barely Legal LP display the Hives as a slightly heavier, more energy-fuelled version of the Strokes, although without the pretentious Strokes attitude. The tracks taken from the 'a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T' EP display a less commercial, darker, thrashier side to the band, while the tracks taken from 'Veni Vedi Vicious' show the Hives beginning to gel as a band, which result in a slightly more commercial sound. However, the Hives' attitude hasn't differed an inch over the years. The same angry voice of youth is represented on the most recent tracks as is represented in their oldest work. And it is due to this that you begin to wonder how long they can continue in this way without rapidly beginning to sound tired and unimaginative. The greatest diversion taken on 'Your New Favourite Band' is during the track 'Mad Man' which is a darker, more bass driven punk affair, with original lyrics about a botched hospital operation. But it still doesn't stand out as a radically different track to any of the others found on the album. But of course, didn't you know? They don't actually write their own material. They are manufactured after all. The Hives have been guided during their career by the person who b
rought them together, Randy Fitzsimmons, who has written all of their music and led them to stardom. Such was the effect of his guidance that when he suddenly disappeared after the release of the 'a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T' EP, The Hives lost their direction and creativity. You can imagine the band saying to each other, "Er, what do we do now?" "Well, what would Randy do?" "Um, dunno really." "Bugger." Fortunately, though, he did reappear, and the creative juices began to flow once again, leading to the release of 'Veni Vedi Vicious'. I say fortunately, as this is the main thing that sets the Hives apart from other manufactured bands: their music is actually good. And when you think about it, do you really need to know any more than that. You can write as much as you like about an album - you can write about the intricate textures created in the music, the relevance of the music to modern society, and all sorts of information that appears to be of massive importance, but is actually mostly useless. But when it comes down to it, all you really want to know is whether it's worth buying. And I would say yes. It doesn't have massive musical or lyrical depth. Who cares? This is a party album (of sorts) - the kind of album to get you going when you've had enough of listening to Radiohead and other albums that have the intention of making you feel like the world's not worth living in. Thanks a lot Thom Yorke for making everyone so depressed, by the way. Miserable git. Yeah, this is the type of album that makes you ready to face anything, stick the middle digit of your right hand up at authority and shout some unprintable expletives at some pigs. Because this is what real punk music is about - rebellion. Yeah, their music sounds retro, and this is inevitably going to lead to comparisons being drawn between this band and the Strokes. However, the Hives offer something completely different - they don'
t take themselves too seriously, and it's obvious from the album that they enjoyed themselves recording these songs. Just look at the bassist - how can he take himself seriously with a moustache like that? My new favourite band? No, but a damn good one anyway. © rabidsquirrel 2002. All rights reserved to make an arse out of myself.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Hate to Say I Told You So
2 Main Offender
3 Supply and Demand
4 Die, All Right!
5 Untutored Youth
7 Mad Man
8 Here We Go Again
9 A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T
10 Automatic Schmuck
11 Hail Hail Spit N'Drool
12 Hives Are Law, You Are Crime