in Review

The Hives – Lex Hives

It’s been five years since The Hives released an album. Five years! That’s a long time to leave a fan hanging. Their last release was 2007’s The Black and White Album a exciting and ambitious release. So it would be assumed that Lex Hives took so long because they were trying to maintain or up their quality. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Lex Hives is brief, half realized, and lacks the songwriting quality of past Hives recordings. It’s not all bad, there’s some dumb fun moments on Lex Hives, but I didn’t wait five years for just moments.

The album opens with stunningly simple “Come On”. A track that barely runs a minute and contains only the lyric “Come On”. Like the 1977 classic Cheap Trick track “Hello There” the song functions to get you excited for the rest of the album. Some will attack it’s redundancy, but I think it’s very effective. The problem is that the rest of the album doesn’t live up to that energy. “Go Right Ahead” is the second cut and disappointingly average lead single from Lex Hives. It continues the trend of overusing the title as a lyric. I also notice a distinct similarity to the 1979 ELO track “Don’t Bring Me Down”. “Go Right Ahead” is my least favorite Hives single to date, but there is still some light at the end of the tunnel.

“Wait a Minute” is a song I completely and unabashedly love. It would have made a far more appropriate single with it’s catchy, carefree melody. It’s followed a few tracks later by my second favorite “Take Back the Toys” a more angst driven number. What’s funny is that even in those two tracks The Hives find themselves fascinated with repeating the title of the song over and over again. I don’t know how that became a recurring technique on Lex Hives but there are some moments where it wears a little thin.

This is the first time I’ve ever found myself skipping tracks on a Hives album to get to the songs I like better. There’s songs on Lex Hives I like just as much as my favorites on other Hives albums, but then there’s those OTHER songs. It’s not that their bad, they just feel like some unused b-sides they had lying around somewhere. I expected a lot more out of this group considering the five year gap. I’d still rather have this over nothing, but Lex Hives has left me unsure. Are The Hives best days behind them? Or was this an experiment with mixed results?

Favorite Tracks: “My Time is Coming”, “Take Back the Toys”, “Wait a Minute”