*1/2 (out of four)
Hungry rock fans have feasted recently thanks to wonderful new musical goodness from artists like Jack White, Garbage, the Black Keys and Alabama Shakes. The Hives, sadly, forgot to bring their own dish.
"Lex Hives," Swedish lite-punkers’ first release in 5 years, is an exercise in exhaustively repetitive songwriting. Nothing demonstrates this better than opening track "Come On," which features lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist chanting that very phrase no fewer than 48 times. (Note: That figure does not include his backup "come on"-ers.) Tracks such as lead single "Go Right Ahead" and "Wait A Minute" use the hotly creative technique of recycling the song title as the chorus, leaving the listener with very little to wonder about.
The album isn’t without highlights. "1000 Answers" breaks down the essence of the lines every guy who ever treated you like crap used into, "I got a thousand answers, one's gotta be right/Give me a thousand chances and I'll get it right." And you know you will, too.
Half the songs on "Lex Hives" echo that tone: begging and pleading for something our unknown heroine is unwilling to give. The rest, like "Take Back The Toys," are ready to be done with her. "Without The Money," another angry rout, kicks off with a nice bluesy ramble but, like many other tracks, the instrumentals become garbled and muddy. It's almost as if The Hives don't want you to be able to sing along.
"Lex Hives" is one of those albums you'll listen to once because you're excited, twice because you want to make sure it wasn't better than you thought and any additional times because you're either reviewing it or it came up randomly on your iTunes. File this one under "forgettable."
In concert: June 30 at the Vic
Album review: The Hives, 'Lex Hives'
The Hives (June 4, 2012)