Music

The Hives: Tyrannosaurus Hives

Stephen Haag

The Hives

Tyrannosaurus Hives

Label: Interscope
US Release Date: 2004-07-20
UK Release Date: 2004-07-19
Amazon
iTunes

Let's end the suspense early in this review: I'm happy to report that the latest from the Hives, Tyrannosaurus Hives, is a worthy successor to their 2000 Eurogarage coming-out party, Veni Vidi Vicious. There. We can all rest easy.

Despite sounding nothing alike, the Hives, with this new album, find themselves in the same boat the White Stripes were in last year. Both bands have murky backstories -- the Stripes, with their whole brother/sister thing, while the Hives claim to have been formed, boy-band-esque, and dressed in matching black and white outfits by a never-seen, string-pulling guru named Randy Fitzsimmons; both toiled in relative obscurity for an album or two, honing their craft until their breakout album (White Blood Cells and Veni..., respectively) bubbled up into the mainstream by dint of high-energy songs and good timing (the turn of the century garage explosion); both now have released follow-up albums that may not beat (for lack of a better word) their breakthrough records, but are natural evolutions of each band's sound -- the mark of a career act. The Hives are here to stay.

The Hives have always had swagger and style to burn; we're reminded early of that fact, with T. Hives' cover. The band -- Nicholaus Arson, Chris Dangerous, Dr. Matt Destruction, Vigilante Carlstroem and Howlin' Pelle Almqvist -- stare you down in their matching suits, each with a Colonel Sanders string tie and faces that read "Yeah, we know we rock." Of course, the band proceeds to deliver the good for all of T. Hives' 30-minute run time. Opener "Abra Cadaver" is a cleaner-sounding versions of Veni Vidi Vicious's blueprint -- Arson and Carlstroem's chiming guitars, lead singer Almqvist's howls; the band isn't making wholesale changes to their sound -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it -- but they are expanding on their sonic palette. Again, it speaks to the band's evolution, though that being the case, the album title is a tad ironic, no?

Internet rumors (fueled by Randy Fitzsimmons?) that the band had been influenced by the mechanical sounds of Kraftwerk turn out to be... true. The first single, the masterful "Walk Idiot Walk", boasts a mechanical strut that does battle with Matt Destruction's prowling, hungry bass line. "See Through Head" swarms like killer bees, while Almqvist shrieks "You wanna cut a piece of cake, you gotta have a bit of blade." "Love in Plaster" can also trace its circuitry back to krautrock, with its keyboard drone and Almqvist's tight, pinched vocals.

Other new sounds yield interesting results as well. "A Little More for Little You" starts out vaguely like reggae, then morphs into a blues stomp with frenetic guitars blasts and a singalong chorus about workers' right to strike. (Thematically, the tune fits in nicely with Veni's "Statecontrol" and "Supply and Demand".) "B is for Brutus" is a lumbering, fuzzed out tale of betrayal; it's so heavy, it sounds like it could be the title track. The least successful experiment -- call it this album's "Find Another Girl" -- is "Diabolic Scheme", which tries to marry Almqvist at his yellingest (OK) to a skronky guitar solo (so far, so good) and a string section (you've lost me). The song seems to be about the band's rise to the top, but the lyrics fall thick out of Almqvist's mouth and the strings never sound at home with the rest of the band.

That said, there's still plenty of straightforward, "Hives-y" songs on T. Hives: the jangly, bouncy "Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones"; the strutting "Missing Link" and "Antidote" (Does any active band strut better than the Hives right now? They're cocksure, but, daaamn they've got the chops to back it up); and the vitriolic "Dead Quote Olympics", where Almqvist takes a guy who quotes famous dead people too often to task: "You know it don't make you clever like you thought it would."

The Hives created their own universe on Veni Vidi Vicious, an album so fully-realized and near-perfectly executed that it ranks as the best album of the 21st century garage revival scene. Tyrannosaurus Hives lacks its predecessor's cohesive vision, but it finds the band in excellent form, exploring universes beyond their own. One of the year's best.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image