What makes The Hives so cool? It might be their immaculate matching suits, or their fittingly absurd stage names. It might be their accents. But primarily, The Hives are continually engrossing because they do exactly what they want to do. The liner notes from their new album say it all, "From an original idea by The Hives. Based on a true story about The Hives. By for with and because of The Hives. Cover concept by The Hives. Liner notes by The Hives. Special thanks to The Hives." They're not out for a late-career victory lap, or to spawn a new fad sub-genre. They're making rock music, and doing it with a determination to be faster, louder, and more sinister than anyone else out there... and with their fifth full-length, Lex Hives, The Hives do not disappoint.
Lex Hives begins with two tracks that are classically Hivesish, especially the first -- the opening song's most complex line is "Everybody come on!" Pelle Almqvist and company start the album with a statement of purpose in the minute long introduction -- "we're going to rock your ass off." Second, the single, "Go Right Ahead," which is not by any means as diabolical of a single as previous Hives efforts, "Hate To Say I Told You So," or "Walk Idiot Walk," is still full of hooks that get the blood boiling. It's a track that pumps you up for the rest of the album which, believe it or not, gets better and better as the album progresses. Lex Hives is built as a singular unit, and like The Hives in concert, their new album builds to a climax. They don't show all their cards on the first or second track, instead they compound their ideas through all twelve. Shorter songs like "Without The Money" and "If I Had A Cent" work well as interludes that keeps the pacing of Lex Hives fresh.
On "I Want More," a track that sounds like Black Sabbath covering "I Love Rock & Roll," is a lyric that summarizes Lex Hives: "I should be at peace with the world baby, but still I want some more." The Hives could be satisfied with a greatest hits album and tour, but that's not what they really want. Lex Hives doesnt ride on the fumes of earlier album's glory, it throws coal on the fire and keeps the flames roaring.