Five years after their previous album, Swedish garage-rockers The Hives coming charging out of the gate with Come On! …all one minute and eight seconds of rock & roll minimalism. The lyric sheet sums things up nicely…”Come on, everybody come on” (repeat). Yes, The Hives are back, rocking like it was 2000, when their album Vendi Vidi Vicious, temporarily made them the band of the moment thanks to Hate To Say I Told You So. Over a decade later, not much has changed in the rarefied world of The Hives, which is both good and bad.
It’s good, because the band still sounds fresh, unpretentious, like it only exists to have fun. Bad because their narrow take on rock wears thin after several songs, which is probably why the album clocks in at just over 30 minutes, why their songs rarely crack the 3 minute mark and why they’ve taken so long to release this album. They clearly are aware of overstaying their welcome.
Opening track Come On! reminded me of a similar band from several decades earlier. Slade had a similarity primitive sound that was most effective is short, sharp bursts. After their initial success in the early 70s, they also laid low for a few years before repeating their formula once more and paving the way for Twisted Sister.
The Hives also bring to mind that other group of minimal rock & roll masterminds, The Ramones. Songs like These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics and If I Had A Cent capture the fun and excitement of Da Brudders from Queens. Singer Pelle even sounds like Joey at times.
The album’s highlight is the snarling Patrolling Days, a tune that perfectly captures the vibe of 60s garage bands and 70s punk outfits while managing to sound contemporary.
So, while The Hives are doing anything particularly unique, they still sounds like they’re having a good time. No doubt the best way to experience these songs is at a Hives concert, but barring that, you could find worse ways to spend a half hour than with Lex Hives.
Click here to listen to Patrolling Days from Lex Hives: