Your new favorite band is back with their 5th studio album, Lex Hives. The Hives roar back after five years with a series of mature punk tunes that bring back the excitement from their early albums. Best known for bringing an almost extinct level of garage punk to the rock scene in the 2000s, the Swedish band were the wild children out of the retro rock revolution. Where the Strokes had the look and retro polish, the Hives have always had an unbridled but finely focused rage to their music. Led by the dynamic and animalistic "Howlin' Pelle" Almqvist known for wild performances, the band was tailor made to bring back the 80s Hardcore Punk sounds that have been missing.
Where their first couple of albums were breakneck, cacophonies of well-written punk anthems, as the Hives' music progressed it became considerably more tame. Pelle's howls were less pronounced. They had a smoother sound to go with slicker songwriting. Perhaps it is this temporary loss of identity that has caused the large gap between their last album and Lex Hives. On this album they have not only rediscovered what made their old sound so special, but also have found a way to progress it forward.
Lex Hives is packed with influences from different eras of rock music, but the most special of these influences is that of 1970's punk music, most specifically the Stooges. You can practically hear Iggy singing through songs such as "Go Right Ahead" and "I Want More." The Hives also play with garage rock through different eras. "Wait A Minute" is directly from garage bands pre-dating punk music, while "Take Back The Toys" and "Midnight Shifter" tap into the old hardcore punk that they did so well. You can even hear an accomplished blues tune through "Without The Money."
Beyond their interesting use of past punk influences, one of the standout features on Lex Hives is the almost pop sensible songwriting involved. This has always been a strong point for the band, but it is particularly strong on this album. "Wait A Minute" and "If I Had A Cent" could double as a dance track it has such strong pop leanings, and this is an important element for the success of Lex Hives." What makes it such a strong album, particularly in comparison to their last couple of efforts, is that it creates a mature version of what made The Hives popular to begin with. Pelle can't howl forever, nor should he. The Hives have found an attractive way of progressing their sound as a punk band without losing some of the visceral edge. They released this album as if they thought rock needed some saving. And luckily for us, they mostly succeeded.