If it looks like the 90's, smells like the 90's and tastes like to the 90's, must it sound like the 90's? The saviors of rock n' roll, The Hives certainly don't. Like their overhyped counterparts, the Strokes and the White Stripes, The Hives have spit out a very interesting and refreshing album. The difference between their colleagues however, is instead of regurgitating the rolling stones, they have regurgitated The Sex Pistols and the Stooges or so they try...
I would not go so far as to call this a bad album for it certainly has its moments, the problem, however, is that they want you to think that it is cooler than it actually is. It is so blatantly obvious at times that these boys are living a 1978 New York City fantasy that it is quite sickening especially considering that all five are from Sweden. What makes it so you ask? Well the first obvious reference is the title of the first song, "The Hives - Declare Guerre Nucleaire". This just screams the Sex Pistols. Next, the album is plagued with lyrics like "Do what I want cause I can and if I don't - because I wanna be ignored by the stiff and the bored- because I'm gonna". It is so obvious, I could cry.
Never-the-less, I like this album. Its 28:00 minute, 12 song length is short but perfect preventing the album from growing tiresome for it is quick and to the point. The good songs certainly out weigh the bad songs. They are energetic, loud and the singer, "Howlin" Pelle Almqvist's scream would make The Strokes' frontman, Julian Casablanca cringe with envy. If you like the album's single, Main Offender, then you certainly will like a great portion of this album. A giant weakness in the songs however, unlike their predecessors of the 70s, the album sounds clean and rehearsed. There certainly is no sloppy guitar playing, they sound well rehearsed and they sound like they are playing on expensive equipment in a high quality studio.
Now what I don't get about the album is the cover and the disc itself. The cover features the 5 members in tuxedos in front of a white back drop giving their best possible Italian mobster faces. I don't know if this is a play on the album's Italian name or if they are trying to be ironic or whatnot, but I definitely do not like the cover. The same goes for the disc. I purchased this album on CD. The top of the CD is black and white, it says "Disques Hives 33 1/3 Microgroove - long playing" and then lists all the tracks. I absolutely hate it when bands try to make their CDs look like they're vinyls in a desperate attempt to look bohemian - oh well.
For me personally, this album will most likely play in my CD player for a few days before I take it out in favor of The Microphones - Don't Wake Me Up. It will probably be a few months before I pick this one up again but you can be assured that when I do, I will be filled with the excited and destructive energy that fills me right now. It is certainly worth buying for the sporadic listen because The Hives rock, and they rock hard.
Based on the scale given at pitchforkmedia.com, I rate this album 7.6