Lex Hives is the full length follow up to The Hives 2007 release The Black And White Album, an album which the band recorded with a variety of producers in a variety of places, which resulted in an album featuring a branching out of styles from the band. In 2010, The Hives released the Tarred & Feathered EP, a straight forward three song EP featuring obscure cover songs, but with Lex Hives, they offer something else altogether. Five years is a long time between albums, but The Hives were always a band that took their time with their albums. Barely Legal was released in 1997, Veni Vidi Vicious released in 2000, Tyrannosaurus Hives in 2004, and The Black And White Album in 2007. Lex Hives was released in June 2012 on The Hives own Disque Hives label which was followed their decision not to extend their contract with Universal Music who released their last two full length albums. For Lex Hives, the band became independent and released their first full length album this way, musically the album serves as the missing link between Veni Vidi Vicious, Tyrannosaurus Hives and The Black And White Album.
The album starts off with the song “Come On”, a short opener that consists of lead singer Pelle Almqvist shouting “Come On” over 50 times, it is a drum and bass dominant song that builds as it progresses with its catchy choruses, which serves as a indication of what to expect to from The Hives from this album catchy driving songs. The lead off single from Lex Hives is “Go Right Ahead” a mid-tempo Glam Punk track with horn sections and loud ringing choruses, the song also features a song credit to Jeff Lynne of ELO, since parts of the songs chorus bear a similarity to ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”, but The Hives put their own stamp on this number. “1000 Answers” is an interesting concoction, featuring Devo-like synthesizers placed along Jerry Lee Lewis piano parts, combined with driving guitar rhythms. The song has been played live for a few years now at festivals and it was in fact a song that was written right after 2004’s Tyrannosaurus Hives album, “I Want More” sounds like AC/DC meets Joan Jett, while “Wait A Minute” features similar back up vocals to “Come On”, but has a chorus so catchy its hard to get out of your head it sounds like a track omitted from The Black And White Album.
“Patrolling Days” another strong up tempo track found here is reminiscent of a lengthier version of “No Pun Intended, but a bit more anthemic than that, it has more depth lyrically as it seems to identify The Hives ethos. The song seems to address the Hives and what they stand for with lyrics such as “Waited for too long/for this day to dawn” and “My patrolling days are over/And I ain't shot nobody since/I fought the big cheese out of office/And showed the hep kids how to dance” it emphasizes that they don’t need to patrol around anymore, The Hives are The Hives and they’re going to do things their way. This song could also perhaps be about the time surrounding their last album and the last few years being a band on a major label. Other great tracks include “Take Back The Toys” a song that is yet another up tempo Punk Hives track, featuring a lo-fi Garage guitar sound. It is placed along with “These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics” and “If I Had A Cent” that keep this album moving quickly. “My Time Is Coming” is a brooding Hives-like Hymn, while “Midnight Shifter” has a sleazy R&B groove, as does “Without The Money” that is a song has many Blues elements, but is predominantly a vocal and organ track. Lyrically Lex Hives seems to address overcoming difficult situations and succeeding (“Take Back The Toys”, “1000 Answers”, “Wait A Minute”, “Patrolling Days”) and turning a negative into a positive. It is juxtaposed along songs that could be described as Party Rock lyrically (“Come On”, “Go Right Ahead”).
The term Lex Hives comes from an set of ancient Roman laws that roughly translates into creating a new body of laws within the system then accepting them as the standard. The Hives on this album did just that they took their body of music and translated them into their new standard. By taking the traditional Hives sound and flirting with elements of Glam Rock, 50’s R&B, Soul, Garage and Punk Rock, Lex Hives finds the band regaining their creative control sounding rejuvenated. The Hives live shows are phenomenally entertaining, that essence is captured here. Several critics claimed that The Black And White Album was an unfocused effort, but Lex Hives trimms all the fat and proves that these Swedish Garage Rockers can still make a good album while not sounding stale, even if it is five albums into their career.
Lex Play List:
1. Teenanger – Red Eye Station
2. Jaill – Perfect Ten
3. Mystics – Last Time (Demo)
4. The Scumbags - My Baby’s Gone Away
5. The Blue Squares – It’s No Wonder
6. New York Dolls – Looking For A Kiss
7. The Professionals – Payola
8. Iggy Pop – Sweet Sixteen
9. Fictions – Fication
10. Terminal Spectators – Another Day Another Dream
11. Guided By Voices – Hang Up And Try Again
12. Sloan - People Of The Sky (Live)
13. New Kind of Mambo – Luv Me True
14. New Kind of Mambo – Land of 1000 Dances
15. Paul Jacobs – Pickin’ Up The Slack
16. Pow Wows – Pandemic #44
17. Ty Segall Band - The Bag I'm In
18. Ty Segall Band – Oh Mary
19. The Black Angels – She’s Not There
20. The Spelling Mistakes – Hate Me, Hate Me
21. 999 – You Can’t Buy Me
22. Raptors - Can't Win
23. The Hives – 1000 Answers
24. The Hives – Take Back The Toys
25. The Hives – Patrolling Days
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