Rediscovering: The Hives’ Lex Hives

Keeping it moving, keeping it moving…Hives! No, not urticaria, the band. Remember that Rediscovering I did on Highly Evolved? I mentioned that a band called The Hives took the smaller stage at a little staged “battle of the bands” event during the 2002 VMAs and…very much deserved the bigger stage. I don’t have to look much further than today’s album for proof of that.

The Hives' Lex Hives

Finally, getting on a good albums streak here–let’s talk Lex Hives by The Hives.

My previous experience, if any

The Hives may very well have been the first rock band I’d ever known about. They partnered with Cartoon Network in the 2000s for a little spot called “Fall is Just Something That Grownups Invented”, and somehow–somehow–it’s both fantastic as a TV spot for kids and fantastic as a Hives track. Beyond that, they’ve popped up in various games I like and I own two of their five albums–and I love the lot of it. Lex Hives seemed like a safe bet, but like so many in the pile, I just never got around to it…

The history lesson

I think The Hives are one of those groups that people either take to or leave. Whereas a lot of punk groups go for pure intensity, The Hives rely more on preciseness. Pelle Almqvist’s haughty howl is unmistakable, as are his backups, but as a selfish bastard drummer myself, it’s Chris Dangerous’ ridiculously fast, unwavering metronome drums that keep everything together. Either the arrogant speedy rock music played by Swedes in classy suits is your thing or it isn’t, but like I said, they’ve always been a favorite of mine.


This one doesn’t really require a long writeup: it’s just awesome. When your stupid little intro song with the words “come on” repeated over and over is catchy on its own, you know you’re in for something good. And indeed, several records in, Lex Hives proves this is still the garage rock revival group to do garage rock right.

What I can say is that it’s definitely a bit more trim and slick than the Hives I’m used to. Veni Vidi Vicious had a real scrappy punk vibe in the production, while Tyrannosaurus Hives showed these Swedes at their biggest, most booming, and most mechanical. At 31 minutes, this one’s simpler and more direct, with more melody and less breakneck speed (see: “I Want More”, and yeah, that’s proof that even slow, The Hives don’t do humble).

The insert of The Hives' Lex Hives, displaying humility

All that said, this record has a ton of callbacks to those earlier records; “1000 Answers”, aside from just being sickeningly catchy and fun to listen to, could’ve easily fit somewhere on Tyrannosaurus‘ backend, while “Patrolling Days” and “Midnight Shifter” have more of a Veni Vidi bent to them (but again, cleaner). “Wait a Minute”, a right single if I’ve ever heard one, sounds like Devo covering “Walk Idiot Walk”, and just like Devo, it’s weirdly catchy and works weirdly well.

Admittedly, Lex Hives is a little frontloaded and flags starting in the second half, and while that might spell the death of some records, it just makes this one inconsistent. Indeed, it doesn’t take long for the funeral bop of “My Time is Coming” to pick the record back up (and hey, thanks for the Poconos shoutout, lads), and “If I Had a Cent” is more classic Hives. It’s the kinda record where a little over half the tracks work for me, nothing more, nothing less. Plenty good for Rediscovering.

Are you keeping it?


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